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THIS IS NO. 174 OF evs%rmJ3<^s 



q:. V Jy 


London: J. M. DENT k SONS, Ltd. 
New York; E. P. DUTTON & CO. 












1 / 


First Issue of this Edition , 1906 

Reprinted ... * 1909? 1911, 1915, 1919 


“ La Tulipe Noire first appeared in 1850. Dumas 
was then nearing the end of his Monte Christo magnifi- 
cences, and about to go into a prodigal’s exile at Brussels. 
It is said that he was given the story, all brief, by King 
William the Third of Holland, whose coronation he did 
undoubtedly attend. It is much more probable, nay, it is 
fairly certain, that he owed it to his history-provider, 

An historical critic, however, has pointed out that in 
his fourth chapter, ^^Les Massacreurs,” Dumas rather 
leads his readers to infer that that other William III., 
William of Orange, was the prime mover and moral 
agent in the murder of the De Witts. But against this 
suggestion, we may quote Macaulay, who wrote: “The 
Prince of Orange, who had no share in the guilt of the 
murder, but on this occasion as on another lamentable 
occasion twenty years later, extended to crimes perpe- 
trated in his cause, an indulgence which has left a stain 
on his glory.” 

Whether Dumas owed it to Lacroix that he made the 
stain seem still deeper in his story, it is impossible to say. 
Paul Lacroix, alias the ‘‘Bibliophile Jacob,” though not 
an artistic assistant like Maguet, supplied Dumas with 
historical colours and eflects. 

“ I used,” he wrote, “to dress his characters for him, 
and locate them in the necessary surroundings, whether in 
Old Paris or in different parts of France at different 
periods. When he was, as often, in difficulties on some 
matter of archaeology, he used to send round one of his 
secretaries to me to demand, say, an accurate account of 
the appearance of the Louvre in the year 1600. ... I 
used to revise his proofs, make corrections in historica! 
points, and sometimes write whole chapters.” See Mr. 

viii Editor’s Note 

Arthur F. Davidson^s admirable volume upon Dumas 
his life and works, published in 1902. 

It oug-ht to be added that the Black Tulip, invented by 
Dumas, has now been made a quotation in the current 
catalogue of Dutch bulbs, and a root can be purchased for 
a shilling*. 

The following is the list of Dumas’ books — 

Poetry and Plays,— sur la Mort du G^n^ral Foy, 1825 ; La 
Cbasse et TAmour (in collaboration), 1825; Canaris (Drhyramb), 
1826 ; La Nocc et I’Enterrement (in collaboration), 1826 ; Christine 
(or Stockholm, Fontainebleau et Rome>, 1828 ; Henri HI. et sa 
Cour, 1829 ; Antony, 1831 ; Napoleon Bonaparte, ou Trente Ans 
de PHistoire de France, 1831 ; Charles VII. chez ses grands 
vassaux, 1831 ; Richard Darlington, 1831 ; T^r^sa, 1832 ; Lc Mari 
de la Veuve (in collaboration), 1832 ; Ia Tour de Nesle, 1832 ; 
AngHe (in collaboration), 1833 ; Cathenne Howard, 1834 ; Don 
Juan de Marana, ou la Chute d’un Ange, 1836; Kean, 1836; 
Piquillo, comic opera (in collaboration), 1837; Caligula, 1837; 
Paul Jones, 1838; Mademoiselle de Belle-Isle, 1839; I’Alchimiste, 
1839 ; Bathilde (m collaboration), 1839 ; Un Manage sous Louis 
XV. (in collaboration), 1841 ; Lorennno (in collaboration), 1842 ; 
Halifax, 1842; Les Demoiselles de Saint-Cyr (in collaboration), 
1843 ; Louise Bernard (in collaboration), 1843 ; Le Laird de 
Dumbicky (in collaboration), 1843 ; Le Garde Forestier (in collabor- 
ation), 1845; L’Oreste, 18565 Le Verrou de la Reine, 18565 Le 
Meneur des Loups, 18575 Collective Eds., *‘Th^itre,” 1834-36, 6 
vols., 1863-74, 15 vols. Dumas also dramatised many of his 

Tales and Novels ^ Travels, — ^Nouvelles Contemporaines, 1826 ; 
Impressions de Voyage, 1833 ; Souvenirs d^Antony (tales), 1835 ; 
La Salle d’Armes (tales), 18385 Le Capitairie Paul, 18385 Act6, 
Monseigneur Gaston de Phebus, 1839; Quinze Jours au Sinai, 
18395 Aventures de John Davy, 18405 Le Capitaine Pamphile, 
18405 Mattre Adam le Calabrais, 18405 Othon TArcher, 18405 
Une Ann^e k Florence, 1840; Praxide; Don Martin de Freytis; 
Pierre le Cruel, 1841 5 Excursions sur les bords du Rhin, 184X ; 
Nouvelles Impressions de Voyage, 1841 5 Le Speronare (travels), 

1842 5 Aventures de Lyderic, 1842 5 Georges 5 Ascanio ; ^ Le 
Chevalier d’Harmental, 18435 Le Corricolo5 La Villa Palmieri, 

1843 J Gabriel Lambert 5 Chlteau d’Eppstein 5 C^cile 5 Sylvandire 5 
Les Trois Mousquetaires 5 Amaury; Fernande, 1844; Le Comte 
de Monte-Cristo, 1844-5 5 Vingt Ans apres, 1845 > Des Fr^rcs 
Corses 5 Une Fille du Regent 5 La Reine Margot, 1845 ; La Guerre 
des Femmes, 1845-6. Le Chevalier de Maison-Rouge, 1846. 
La Dame de Monsoreau, 1846. Le B^tard de Maul^on, 1846. 
M^moires d’un M^decin, 184(^8. Les Quaranteemq, 1848. Dix 
Ans plus tard, ou le Vicomte de Bragelonne, 1848-50. De Paris 


Editor’s Note 

k Cadix, 1848. Tanger, Alger, et Tunis, 1848. Les Milles et un 
Fantdmes, 1849. La Tulipe Noire, 1S50. La Femme au Collier 
de Velours, 1851. Olympe de Cloves, 1852. Un Gil Bias en 
Californie, 1852, Isaac Taquedem, 1852. La Comtesse de Chamy, 
1853-5. Ange Pitou, le Pasteur d’Ashboum ; El Sat^ador ; Con- 
science I’Innocent, 1853. Catherine Blum ; Ingenue, 1854. I^s 
Mohicans de Paris, 1854-8. Salvator, 1855-9 (the two last with 
Paul Bocage). L’ Arabic Heureuse, 1855. Les Compagnons de 
J^hu, 1857. Les Louves de Machecoul, 1859. Le Caucase, 1859. 
De Pans a Astrakan, i860. 

Works . — Souvenirs de 1830-42, 1854. M6moires, 1852-4. 
Causeries, i860. Bric-a-brac, 1861. Histoire de mes B6tes, 1868. 
Memoirs of Garibaldi, Reminiscences of various writers, historical 
compilations, etc.; Children’s Tales; Histoire d’un Casse-Noisette> 
La Bouillie de la Comtesse Berthe, Le Pcre Gigogne* 













XXVII. THE THIRD BULB . . . ^ . . 204 












On the 20th of August, 1672, the city of the Hague, 
whose streets were ordinarily so neat and trim, and 
withal so tranquil that every day seemed like Sunday ; 
the city of the Hague, with its shady park, its noble 
trees reaching out over the roofs of the Gothic dwell- 
ing, and its broad canals so calm and smooth that 
they resembled mammoth mirrors, wherein were 
reflected its myriad of church-towers, whose graceful 
shapes recalled some city of the Orient, — the city of 
the Hague, the capital of the Seven United Provinces, 
saw all its arteries swollen to bursting with a black 
and red flood of impetuous, breathless, eager citizens, 
who with knives in their belts, muskets on their 
shoulders, or clubs in their hands, were hurrying on 
toward the Buytenhof, a redoubtable prison, whose 
grated windows still frown on the beholder, where 
Cornelius de Witt, brother of the former Grand Pen- 
sionary of Holland, was languishing in confinement, 
on a charge of attempted murder preferred against 
him by the surgeon Tyckelaer. 

If the history of that time — and especially of the 
year in the middle of which our narrative commences 
— were not indissolubly connected with the two names 
just mentioned, the few explanatory pages which 
follow might appear quite supererogatory; but we 
must first warn our old friend, the indulgent reader, 
whom it is our invariable custom on the first page to 
promise to entertain, and to whom we do our best to 
redeem our promise in the subsequent pages, that 
this explanation is as indispensable to the right under- 



The Black Tulip 

Standing of our tale as to that of the great even 
itself on which it is based. 

Cornelius de Witt, Ruart de Pulten, — that is to say 
Inspector of Dikes, — ex-burgomaster of Dort, hi 
native town, and member of the Assembly of th 
States of Holland, was forty-nine years of age whei 
the Dutch people, weary of the Republic as it wa 
administered by John de Witt, the Grand Pensionar 
of Holland, suddenly conceived a most violent affec 
tion for the Stadtholderate, which had been abolishe< 
for ever in Holland by the Perpetual Edict forced b; 
John de Witt upon the United Provinces. 

In accordance with the common experience tha 
public opinion in its capricious flights seeks always t< 
identify a principle with some man whose name ij 
connected with its promulgation, the people saw th( 
personification of the Republic in the stern feature! 
of the brothers De Witt (those Romans of Holland) 
who disdained to pander to the whims of the mob 
but were the unyielding upholders of liberty withou 
licence and prosperity without extravagance; whil< 
on the other hand the thought of the Stadtholderate 
recalled to the popular mind the stooping head anc 
the grave and thoughtful lineaments of young Williarr 
of Orange, whom his contemporaries christened the 
“ Taciturn,” — a name which has come down to oui 
own day. 

The brothers De Witt were very gentle in theli 
treatment of Louis XIV., whose moral influence 
throughout Europe they perceived to be steadilj 
increasing, and whose material supremacy over Hol- 
land they had been made to feel in that marvellous 
campaign of the Rhine, made famous by the exploits 
of that hero of romance, the Comte de Guiche, and 
celebrated in song by Boileau, — a campaign which 
had laid the power of the United Provinces prostrate 
in three short months. 

Louis XIV. had long been the enemy of the Dutch, 
who insulted or ridiculed him to their heart’s content, 
although it must be said that they generally vented 
thier spleen through the medium of French refugees. 

A Grateful People 3 

Their national pride held him up as the_ Mithridates 
of the Republic. The brothers De Witt therefore 
had to contend against active opposition, arising in 
the first place from the fact that a vigorous resistance 
had been conducted by them against the inclination 
of the nation, and, furthermore, from that feeling of 
weariness which is natural to all vanquished people, 
who hope that a new leader may be able to save them 
from ruin and shame. 

This new leader — quite ready to appear on the 
political stage and to measure himself against Louis 
XIV., however towering the destiny of the Grand 
Monarque might seem to be — ^was William, Prince 
of Orange, son of William IL, and grandson, by his 
mother Henrietta Stuart, of Charles 1 . of England, — 
the taciturn youth whom we have referred to as the 
person to whom the popular mind at once reverted 
when the Stadtholderate was mentioned. 

This young man was in 1672 twenty-two years of 
age. John de Witt, who was his tutor, had brought 
him up with the view of making this youth of royal 
lineage a good citizen of the Republic. Loving his 
country better than he did his pupil, the master had 
by the Perpetual Edict extinguished the hope which 
the young Prince might have entertained of one day 
becoming Stadtholder. But God laughs at the pre- 
sumption of man, who assumes to make and unmake 
earthly sovereigns without consulting the King of 
Heaven. Through the capricious humour of the 
Dutch and the terror inspired by Louis XIV., He 
overturned the policy of the Grand Pensionap^, and 
repealed the Perpetual Edict by re-establishing the 
office of Stadtholder in favour of William of Orange, 
for whom He had decreed a lofty destiny still buried 
in the mysterious depths of the future. 

The Grand Pensionary bowed before the will of his 
fellow-citizens. Cornelius de Witt, however, was 
more obstinate ; and notwithstanding all the threats 
of death from the Orangist rabble, who besieged him 
in his house at Dort, he stoutly refused to sign the 
act by which the office of Stadtholder was restored^ 

4 The Black Tulip 

Moved by the tears and entreaties of his wife, he at 
last complied, but affixed to his sig-nature the two 
letters V* C, which signified vi coactus, or ‘‘done 
under duress*” 

It was only by a miracle that he escaped alive from 
the hands of his foes on that occasion. 

John de Witt derived no advantage from his ready 
compliance with the wishes of his fellow-citizens. 
Only a few days later an attempt was made to murder 
him, in which he was severely although not mortally 

This by no^ means accorded with the necessities of 
the Orange faction. The two brothers so long as 
they lived were a constant obstacle to its plans ; never- 
theless, the Orangists changed their tactics for the 
moment (leaving themselves free at any time to revert 
to their first method), and undertook with the aid of 
slander and calumny to effect the purpose which they 
had not been able to effect by the aid of the poniard. 

It is seldom ordained by the will of God that a great 
man shall be at hand at the right moment to carry a 
great work to a successful conclusion ; and for that 
reason, when such a providential concurrence of cir- 
cumstances does occur, history is prompt to record 
the name of the fortunate individual, and to hold him 
up to the admiration of posterity. 

But when Satan interposes in human affairs to cast 
a blight upon some happy existence, or to overthrow 
a kingdom, it as seldom happens that he does not find 
at his side some wretched tool, in whose ear he has 
but to whisper a word to set him at once about his 

The wretched tool who was at hand to be the agent 
of this dastardly plot was one Tyckelaer, whom we 
have already mentioned, — a surgeon by profession. 

He lodged an information to the effect that Corne- 
lius de Witt, rendered desperate by the repeal of the 
Perpetual Edict (as he had proved by the letters 
affixed to his signature thereto), and inflamed with 
hatred for William of Orange, had hired an assassin 
to deliver the Republic from its new Stadtholder, and 

A Grateful People 5 

that he, Tyckelaer, was the person thus chosen ; but 
that stung with remorse for having for one moment 
admitted the idea of the deed which he was asked to 
perpetrate, he had preferred rather to reveal the crime 
than to commit it. 

This disclosure was, indeed, well calculated to call 
forth a furious outbreak among the Orange faction. 
The Procureur-Fiscal caused the arrest of Cornelius 
at his own house on the i6th of, ifjya; and 
the Ruart de Pulten, noble John de W itt’s noble 
brother, was forced to undergo, in one of the rooms 
in the Buytenhof, the preliminary torture by means of 
which they hoped to extort from him, as from the 
vilest criminals, a confession of his alleged plot 
against William of Orange. 

But Cornelius was possessed not only of a great 
mind, but also of a great heart. He belonged to that 
race of martyrs who, being as constant in their 
political faith as their ancestors were in their religious 
belief, are enabled to meet suffering with a smiling 
face ; and while he was stretched on the rack, he 
recited with a firm voice, and scanning the lines 
according to measure, the first strophe of the “ Justum 
ac tenacem ’’ of Horace. He made no confession, 
and at last tired out the fanaticism, as well as the 
strength, of his persecutors. 

The judges, nevertheless, completely exonerated 
Tyckelaer ; while they sentenced Cornelius to be 
deposed from all his offices and dignities, to pay all 
the costs of the trial, and to be banished from the soil 
of the Republic for ever. 

The insane passions of the people, to whose best 
interests Cornelius de Witt had ever been conscienti- 
ously devoted, v/ere to some extent appeased by this 
judgment against one who was an entirely inpocent 
as well as a great man ; but, as we shall see, it failed 
to content them. 

The Athenians, who have left behind them a pretty 
tolerable reputation for ingratitude, must in this 
respect yield precedence to the Dutch. They con- 
tented themselves with banishing Aristides. 


The Black Tulip 

John de Witt, at the first intimation of the charge 
brought against his brother, had resigned his office 
of Grand Pensionary. He, too, received a noble 
recompense for his devotion to his country, taking 
with him into the retirement of private life his burden 
of anxiety and his scarcely-healed scars, which are 
only too often the sole guerdon obtained by honour- 
able men who are guilty of having laboured for their 
country, forgetful of their own interests. 

Meanwhile, \\’iilia.n of Orange urged on the course 
of events by every means in his power, eagerly wait- 
ing for the time when the people, by whom he was 
idolized, should have made of the bodies of the 
brothers the two steps up which he might ascend to 
the chair of Stadtholder. 

Thus it was that on the aoth of August, 1672, as 
we have already stated in .the beginning of this 
chapter, the whole town was crowding toward the 
Buytenhof, to witness the departure of Cornelius de 
Witt from prison on his way to lifelong banishment, 
and to see what traces the torture had left on the noble 
frame of the man who knew his Horace so welL 

Let us hasten to add that this vast multitude, 
"which was hurrying on toward the Buytenhof, was 
not influenced solely by the harmless desire of feast- 
ing their eyes with the spectacle; there were many 
who went there to play an active part in it, and to 
take upon themselves an office which they conceived 
had been badly filled, — ^that of the executioner. 

There were, indeed, others with less hostile inten- 
tions. All that they cared for was the spectacle, 
always so attractive to the mob, whose instinctive 
pride is gratified to see him who has long occupied a 
lofty position prostrate in the dust. 

“ This Cornelius de Witt,'* they were saying, “ this 
knight without fear, has he not been closely confined, 
and his courage shattered by the rack? Shall we not 
see him pale, streaming with blood, covered with 
shame?” Surely this was a sweet triumph for the 
bourgeoisie, who were even more consumed with 
envy than the common people, — a. triumph in which 

A Grateful People 7 

every honest burgher of the Hague might well 

‘ ‘ Moreover, ’ ’ hinted the Orange agitators inter- 
spersed. through the crowd, whom they hoped to 
mould to their own purposes, and to use either as an 
instrument of attack or of menace, — ‘‘ moreover, will 
there not be a fine opportunity all the way from the 
Buytenhof to the city gate to throw some handfuls of 
dirt or a few stones at this Ruart de Pulten, who not 
only conferred the dignity of Stadtholder on the 
Prince of Orange * under duress,’ as he claims, but 
who also intended to have him assassinated?” 

‘‘ Besides which,” the fierce enemies of France 
chimed in, if the work were done well and bravely 
at the Hague, Cornelius would certainly not be allowed 
to go into exile, where he will renew his intrigues 
with France, and live with his infernal scoundrel of 
a brother, John, on the gold of the Marquis de 

In such a temper, people generally will run rather 
than walk, — ^which was the reason why the inhabit- 
ants of the Hague were hurrying so fast toward the 

Honest Tyckelaer, with a heart full of spite and 
malice, and with no particular plan settled in his mind, 
was one of th^ foremost, being put forward by the 
Orange party as a very model of probity, national 
honour, and Christian charity. 

This daring miscreant, embellishing his narrative 
with all the exaggerated rhetoric which his mind or 
his fertile imagination could supply, detailed the 
attempts which Cornelius de Witt had made to 
corrupt him, the sums of money which were 
promised, and the diabolical plans, which were all 
laid beforehand, to smooth away whatever difficulties 
might arise to obstruct his (Tyckelaer ’s) committing 
the murder. 

Every phrase of his speech, eagerly listened to by 
the populace, called forth enthusiastic cheers for the 
Prince of Orange and yells of blind fury against the 
brothers De Witt. 

8 The Black Tulip 

The mob even fell to cursing* the iniquitous judg-es 
who had allowed such a detestable criminal as the 
villain Cornelius to g'et off so cheaply. 

Some of the agitators whispered, He will be off; 
he will escape from us 

Others replied, ‘"A vessel is waiting for him at 
Schevening, — a French craft. Tyckelaer has seen her. ’ ' 

“Honest Tyckelaer I Hurrah for Tyckelaer!” 
the mob cried in chorus. 

“And let us not forget,” a voice exclaimed from 
the crowd, “ that meanwhile John, who is as unmiti- 
gated a scoundrel as his brother, will also escape,” 

“ And the two rogues will make merry in France 
with our money, — with the money for our vessels, 
our arsenals, and our dockyards, which they have 
sold to Louis XIV.” 

“Well, then, let us not allow them to depart!” 
shouted one patriot, whose ideas had advanced farther 
than those of the others. 

“Forward to the prison, to the prison I” echoed 
the crowd. 

Amid such cries, the citizens ran along faster and 
faster, while muskets were brandishing, axes gleam- 
ing, and eyes shooting fire and flame. 

No violence, however, had as yet been committed ; 
and the file of horsemen who were guarding the 
approaches of the Buytenhof remained cool, unmoved, 
silent, much more formidable in their impassibility 
than this excited, yelling, threatening crowd of 
burghers. Motionless they sat, under the eye of their 
leader, the captain of the cavalry of the Hague, who 
had his sword drawn, but held it with its point down- 
ward, in a line with the straps of his stirrup. 

This troop, the only defence of the prison, overawed 
by its firm attitude not only the disorderly, riotous 
mass of the populace, but also the detachment of the 
burgher-guard, which, being placed opposite the 
Buytenhof to support the soldiers in keeping order, 
gave countenance to the seditious uproar of the rioters 
by themselves shouting, — 

“ Hurrah for Orange ! Down with the traitors 

A Grateful People 9 

The presence of Tilly and his horsemen, indeed, 
exercised a salutary check on these civic warriors; 
but soon they worked themselves into a fine passion 
by their own yelling, and as they could not compre- 
hend how any one could be endowed with physical 
courage and not manifest it by shouting at the top of 
his voice, they attributed the silence of the dragoons to 
cowardice, and advanced one step toward the prison, 
with all the turbulent mob following in their wake. 

Thereupon Count Tilly rode forward alone to meet 
them, raising his sword slightly, as he demanded with 
a frown, — 

‘‘Well, gentlemen of the burgher-guard, why are 
you in motion, and what do you wish?’’ 

The burghers brandished their muskets, repeating 
their cry, — 

“ Hurrah for Orange ! Death to the traitors !” 

“ ‘ Hurrah for Orange!* be it so,” replied Tilly, 

‘ ‘ although I certainly am more partial to happy faces 
than to gloomy ones. ‘ Death to the traitors ! ’ if you 
:hoose, so long as you confine your energy to shouting 
t. Shout ‘Death to the traitors!’ to your heart’s 
content; but as to putting them to death in good 
earnest, I am here to prevent that, and I shall prevent 

Then, turning round to his men, he gave the word 
)f command, — 


The troopers obeyed orders with a precision which 
mmediately caused the biir^hcr-guard and the people 
o fall back in such haste and confusion as to excite 
he laughter of the cavalry-officer. 

“ There, there !” he exclaimed with that bantering 
one which is peculiar to men of his profession, “ be 
asy, my good fellows, my soldiers will not fire a 
hot ; but, on the other hand, you must not advance 
ne step toward the prison.” 

“ And do you know, sir, that we have muskets?” 
oared the commandant of the burghers. 

“ By Jove, I can’t very well help knowing it,” said 
'illy, “ after the way you have been waving them 

10 The Black Tulip 

before my eyes ; but I beg you to observe also thaf 
we have pistols, that the pistol carries admirably to a 
distance of fifty yards, and that you are only twenty- 
five from us/’ 

“Death to the traitors!” cried the exasperated 
* • ehc, s. 

“ Bail 1” growled the officer, “ you keep saying the 
same thing over and over again. It is very tire- 

With this he fesumed his post at the head of his 
troops, while the tumult grew fiercer and fiercer about 
the Buytenhof. 

And yet the furious mob did not know that at the 
very moment when they were hot upon the scent of 
one of their victims, the other, as if hurrying to meet 
his fate, passed at a distance of not more than a 
hundred yards behind the groups of people and the 
dragoons on his way to the Buytenhof. 

John de Witt had alighted from his coach with a 
servant, and was walking quietly across the courtyard 
of the prison. 

Mentioning his name to the turnkey, who, however, 
knew him, he said, — 

‘ * Good-morning, Gryphus ; I have come to get my 
brother, Cornelius de Witt (who as you know is sen- 
tenced to perpetual banishment), and take him away 
from the city with me.” 

Thereupon the jailer, a sort of bear, trained to lock 
and unlock the gates of the prison, saluted him, and 
admitted him into the building, the doors of which 
were immediately closed upon him. 

Ten yards farther on, John de Witt met a lovely 
young girl of about seventeen or eighteen, dressed in 
the national costume of the Frisian women, who 
coiirtesied prettily to him. Patting her cheek gently, 
he said to her, — 

^ ‘ Good-morning, my pretty little Rosa ; how is my 

“ Oh, Mynheer John !” the young girl replied, “ I 
am not afraid of the harm which has been done to 
him. That’s all over now/’ 


The Two Brothers 

Pray, what are you afraid of then, my dear?^’ 

“ I am afraid of the harm which they are going to 
do to hkn/^ 

Oh, yes,” said De Witt, “ you mean this rabble, 
don’t you?” 

Do you hear them?” 

“ Yes, they are indeed in a state of great excite- 
ment ; but when they see us, perhaps they will grow 
calmer, as we have never done them anything but 

Unfortunately, that is no reason at all,” muttered 
the girl, as in obedience to an imperative sign from 
her father, she withdrew. 

Indeed, child, what you say is only too true.” 
Then, as he pursued his way, he said to himself, — 

Here is a damsel who very likely does not know 
how to read, and who, consequently, has never read 
anything ; and yet with one word she has epitomized 
a good part of the history of the world. ’ ’ 

And with the same calm mien, but more melancholy 
than he had been on entering the prison, the Grand 
Pensionary proceeded toward the cell of his brother. 



The fair Rosa’s gloomy forebodings were fully 
realized; for while John de Witt was climbing the 
narrow winding stairs which led to the prison of his 
brother Cornelius, the burghers did their best to have 
the troop of Tilly, which was in their way, removed. 

^ Whereupon the rabble, in token of their apprecia- 
tion of the good intentions of their militia-men, 
shouted lustily, “ Hurrah for the burghers !” 

Count Tilly, who was as prudent as he was firm, 
began to parley with the burghers, under the protec- 

12 The Black Tulip 

tion of the cocked pistols of his dragfoons, doing his 
best to explain to them that his order from the_ States 
commanded him to guard the prison and its ap- 
proaches with three companies. 

“ Why give such orders? Why guard the prison?’’ 
cried the Orangists. 

Ah !” replied M. de Tilly, there you ask me at 
once more than I can tell you. I was told, ‘ Guard 
the prison,’ and I obey orders. You, gentlemen, who 
are almost soldiers yourselves, ought to know that an 
order must never be discussed.” 

But this order has been given to you so that the 
traitors may be enabled to leave the town.” 

Very possibly, as the traitors are condemned to 
exile,” replied Tilly. 

Who is responsible for this order?” 

“ The States, to be sure.” 

* ‘ The States are traitors. ’ ’ 

** I don’t know an3'‘thing about that !” 

'' And you are a traitor yourself !” 

” I?” 

Yes, you.” 

” Well, as to that, let us understand each other, 
my friends. Whom should I betray, — the States? 
Why, I cannot betray them, if while I am in their pay, 

I faithfully obey their orders.” 

Thereupon, the Count being so indisputably in the 
right that it was impossible to answer him, the uproar 
and threatening language were renewed with re- 
doubled energy ; but the Count replied to their extra- 
vagant and horrible imprecations with the utmost 

My friends,’^ said he, ‘‘uncock your muskets; 
one of them may go off by accident, and if the shot 
chanced to wound one of my men it would be the 
death of a good many of you. We should be very 
sorry for that, and you would perhaps be sorrier still, 
especially as neither of us has any such purpose.” 

“ If you should do that,” cried the burghers, “ we 
should take our turn at the same game. ” 

“ Very well; but even were you to kill every man 

The Two Brothers 13 

of US, those whom we had killed would be none the 
less dead.’’ 

Then leave the place to us, and you will play the 
part of a good citizen.” 

‘‘First of all,”^ said Tilly, “ I am not a citizen^ 
but an officer, which is a very different thing; and, 
secondly, I am not a Hollander, but a Frenchman, 
and there the distinction is even greater. I have to 
do with no one but the States, by whom I am paid ; 
let me see an order from them to leave you in 
possession of the square, and I shall only be too 
glad to evacuate on the instant, for I am confound- 
edly bored here.” 

“Yes, yes!” cried a hundred voices, whose 
chorus was immediately swelled by five hundred 
others; “let us go to the Town-hall and see the 
deputies ! Come on ! Come on ! ” 

“That’s it,” Tilly muttered, as he saw the most 
violent among the crowd turning away; “go to the 
Town-hall and seek to procure the perpetration of a 
dastardly act, and you will see what answer you 
will get. Go, my fine fellows, go 1” 

The worthy officer relied on the honour of the 
magistrates, who, on their side, relied on his 
[lonour as a soldier. 

“ Suppose, Captain,” said the first lieutenant in 
he Count’s ear, “that the deputies refuse to grant 
vhat these madmen demand, and then send us a 
;mail reinforcement ; that would not be so bad, would 

Meanwhile, John de Witt, whom we left climbing 
he stairs, after his conversation with the jailer 
jryphus and his daughter Rosa, had reached the 
loon of the cell, where on a mattress lay his brother 
llornelius, who had, as we have seen, been subjected 
o the preliminary torture. The sentence of banish- 
lent having been pronounced, there was no occasion 
or inflicting the torture extraordinary. 

Cornelius, prostrate on his bed, with wrists broken 
nd fingers crushed, because he had refused to con- 
^ss a crime he had not committed, was just begin* 

14 The Black Tulip 

ning to breathe freely once more, after three days 
of mortal agony, on being informed that his judges, 
at whose hands he had expected sentence of death, 
had decided to condemn him to banishment. 

Endowed with an iron frame and a stout heart, 
how would he have disappointed his enemies, if they 
could have seen, in the gloomy depths of his cell in 
the Buytenhof, his pale face lighted up by the smile 
of the martyr, who having had a foretaste of the 
glory of heaven forgets that he has ever wallowed 
in earthly mire ! 

The Ruart, indeed, had already recovered all his 
powers, more by the force of his own strong will 
than by any care that had been bestowed upon him; 
and he was r'l'idr how long the formalities of 
the law would still detain him in prison. 

It was just at this moment ^at the combined 
shouts of the citizen-militia and the mob were at 
their loudest, and curses were being heaped upon the 
two brothers, mingled with dire threats against Cap- 
tain Tilly, who stood a living rampart between them 
and their foes. The uproar, breaking against the 
walls of the prison like surf against the cliffs, 
reached even the prisoner’s ears. 

But threatening as was the sound, Cornelius took 
no steps to ascertain whence it arose; nor did he 
even take the trouble to rise and look out at the 
narrow iron-barred window, which gave access to 
the light and sound from without. 

He was so inured to his never-ceasing pain that 
he had almost become indifferent to it. In fact he 
was conscious^ of such ecstasy in feeling that his 
soul and his mind were about to rise above all bodily 
ills, that it seemed to him as if that soul and that 
mind had already escaped from their bondage to the 
flesh, and were floating in tlie air above his body, as 
the expiring flame from an almost extinct fire hovers 
above the embers on the hearth. 

He was also thinking of his brother. It was his 
approach, doubtless, that thus made itself felt, 
through the mysterious agency which is now known 

The Two Brothers 15 

as Tis,iv. At the very moment that John was 

so vividly present in the thoughts of Cornelius that 
his name was actually upon his lips, the door opened ; 
John entered and hurried to the bedside of the 
prisoner, who ^stretched out his broken arms and his 
hands, tied up in bandages, toward that glorious 
brother, whom he had succeeded in surpassing not in 
services rendered to the country, but in the hatred 
which the Dutch bore him. 

John tenderly kissed his brother on the forehead, 
and put his maimed hands gently back on the 

‘‘ Cornelius, my poor brother,” said he, you are 
suffering great pain, are you not?” 

I suffer no longer since I see you, my brother.” 

Oh, my poor dear Cornelius ! I assure you 
that I grieve enough for both to see you in such a 
state.” ^ 

” Indeed, I have thought more of you than of 
myself ; and while they were torturing me I never 
thought of uttering a complaint, except once to say, 
^ Poor brother V But now that you are here, let us 
forget it all. You have come to take me away, have 
you not?” 

I have.” 

** I am quite cured. Help me to get up, and you 
shall see how well I can walk.” 

‘ ‘ You will not have to walk far, dear brother, as 
I have my coach near the pond, behind Tilly’s 
dragoons. ’ ’ 

” Tilly’s dragoons ! Why are they near the 

“Well,” said the Grand Pensionary, with the 
melancholy smile which was habitual to him, “ you 
see there is an idea that the people of the Hague 
would like to witness your departure, and there is 
some apprehension of a disturbance.” 

“ Of a disturbance?” replied Cornelius, fixing his 
eyes on his embarrassed brother; “ a disturbance?” 

“Yes, Cornelius.” 

“ Oh, that’s what I heard just now,” said the 

1 6 The Black Tulip 

prisoner, as if speaking to himself. Then turning 
to his brother, he continued, — 

‘‘ There is a great crowd around the Buytenhof, is 

there not?’’ 

Yes, dear brother.” 

But that being so, in order to come here ” 


How was it that they allowed you to pass?” 

You know well that we are not very popular, 
Cornelius,” said the Grand Pensionary, with gloomy 
bitterness. “ I came through back streets all the 
way. ” 

‘'You hid yourself, John?” 

“ I wished to reach you without loss of time, and 
I did what people do in politics, or at sea when the 
wind is against them, — I beat to windward.” 

At this moment the noise in the square below 
seemed to redouble in fury. Tilly was pd 'le\ Ing 
with the burghers. 

“ Well,” said Cornelius, “you are a very skilful 
pilot, John ; but I doubt whether you will be able to 
guide your brother out of the Buytenhof in such a 
heavy sea, and through the breakers of popular fury, 
as happily as you conducted the fleet of Van Tromp 
past the shoals of the Scheldt to Antwerp.” 

“ With the help of God, Cornelius, we’ll at least 
try,” answered John; “ but first of all, a word with 

“ What is it?” 

The shouts began anew. 

“ Hark, hark !” continued Cornelius; “ how angry 
these people are ! Is it against you, or against me?” 

‘‘ I should say it is against us both, Cornelius. I 
told you, my dear brother, that the Orange party, 
while assailing us with their absurd calumnies, have 
also made it a reproach against us that we have 
negotiated with France.” 

“ What blockheads they are!” 

“ Very true; but nevertheless they make that 
reproach against us. ” 

“ And yet if these negotiations had been success- 

The Two Brothers 17 

fill, they would have prevented the defeats of Rees, 
Orsay, Wesel, and Rhcinberg*: the Rhine would not 
have been crossed, and Holland might still consider 
herself invincible in the midst of her marshes and 

‘ ‘ All this is quite true, my dear Cornelius ; but still 
more certain it is that if at this moment our corre- 
spondence with the Marquis de Louvois were dis- 
covered, skilful pilot as I am I should not be able to 
save the frail bark which is to carry the brothers De 
Witt and their fortunes out of Holland. That corre- 
spondence, which would but prove to honest people 
how dearly I love my country, and what sacrifices I 
have offered to make for its liberty and glory, would 
be ruin to us if it fell into the hands of our triumphant 
foes, the adherents of the Prince of Orange. There- 
fore I trust that you burned every letter, dear Cor- 
nelius, before you left Dort to join me at the Hague.” 

” My dear brother,” Cornelius answered, ” your 
correspondence with M. de Louvois affords ample 
proof of your having been of late the greatest, ablest, 
and noblest citizen of the Seven United Provinces. I 
love my country’s glory, and your fame is dearer to 
me than all the world, dear John; therefore I have 
taken good care not to burn that correspondence.” 

Then we are lost, as far as this life is con- 
cerned,” calmly remarked the Ex-Grand Pensionary^ 
apj;i oiichi'ig the window. 

“ No, John, you are altogether wrong, and we 
shall find our bodily safety assured.” 

“ Pray, what have you done with these letters?” 

I have entrusted them to the care of Cornelius 
van Baerle, my godson, whom you know, and who 
lives at Dort. ’ ’ 

‘‘ Oh, the poor fellow! the dear, innocent child I 
The scholar who knows so many things, and at the 
same time (and a rare combination it is) thinks only 
of his flowers who offer their daily greeting to God, 
and of God himself who makes the flowers grow. So 
you have entrusted him with that fatal parcel ? Alas I 
dear brother, it will be the ruin of poor Cornelius i” 


1 8 The Black Tulip 

‘‘ His ruin?^’ 

'^Yes, for he will either be strong or he will be 
weak. If he is strong (for, little as he may dream of 
what has happened to us, buried in his studies there 
at Dort, and incredibly absorbed and d\:-: . as 

he is, still he will hear of it sooner or later), then, I 
say, if he is strong of heart, he will boast of his 
relations with us ; and if he is weak, he will be afraid 
of the results of having been intimate with us. If he 
is strong, he will proclaim the secret from the house- 
tops ; if he is weak he will allow it to be forced from 
him. In either case he is lost, and so are we. Let 
us, therefore, fiy at once, if indeed we are not too 

Cornelius raised himself on his couch, and grasp- 
ing the hand of his brother, who shuddered at the 
touch of the linen bandages, replied, — 

‘ ‘ Do I not know my godson ? Have I not learned 
to read as in an open book every thought of Van 
Baerle’s brain and every emotion of his soul? You 
ask whether he is strong or weak. He is neither 
the one nor the other; but that is not now the 
question. The principal point is, that he is sure 
not to divulge the secret, for the very good reason 
that he does not know it himself.” 

John turned around in surprise. 

** Ah !” continued Cornelius, with his gentle smile, 

‘ ‘ the Ruart de Pulten has been brought up in the 
school of his brother John ; and I repeat to you, dear 
brother, that Van B aerie is not aware of the nature 
and importance of the deposit which I have entrusted 
to him.” 

“Quickly, then,” cried John, “as there is still 
time, let us convey to him directions to burn the 
parcel. ’ ’ 

“ By whom can we transmit such a direction?” 

“ By my servant Craeke, who was to have accom- 
panied us on horseback, and who entered the prison 
with me, to assist you downstairs.” 

“ Consider well before ordering those precious 
documents burned, John!” 

The Two Brothers 19 

I consider above all things that the brothers De 
Witt must necessarily save their lives in order to be 
able to save their character. When we are dead, 
who will defend us? Who will there be who has 
even so much as understood us?’’ 

Do you believe, then, that they would kill us if 
those papers were found?” 

John, without answering, pointed with his hand to 
the square, whence a fresh outburst of fierce shouting 
arose at that moment. 

Yes, yes,” said Cornelius, I hear these shouts 
very plainly, but what is their meaning?” 

John opened the window. 

Death to the traitors !” howled the populace. 

** Do 3^ou hear now, Cornelius?” 

‘ To the traitors!’ that means us?” said the 
prisoner, raising his eyes to heaven, with a shudder. 

Yes, it means us,” repeated John. 

‘‘ Where is Craeke?” 

“ At the door of your cell, I suppose.” 

Pray, let him come in.” 

John opened the door; the faithful servant was 
waiting on the threshold. 

‘‘ Come in, Craeke, and mind well what my brother 
will tell you.” 

No, John; it will not suflRce to send a verbal 
message; unfortunately I shall be obliged to wTite.” 

“Why so?” 

“ Because Van Baerle will neither give up the 
parcel nor burn it without a special command to do 

“ But will you be able to write, my dear fellow?” 
John asked, with a compassionate glance at his poor 
hands all scorched and bruised. 

“ If I had pen and ink you would soon see,” said 

“ Here is a pencil, at any rate.” 

“ Have you any paper? They have left me 

“ Here, take this Bible, and tear out the fly-leaf.” 

“ Very well, that will do.” 


The Black Tulip 

‘ ‘ But your writing- will be illeg-ible. ’ ^ 

‘‘ Never fear/* rejoined Cornelius, glancing at his 
brother. ‘‘ These fingers which have resisted the 
screws of the executioner, and this will of mine which 
has triumphed over pain, will unite in a common 
efifort ; so have no fear that the lines will be disfigured 
by any tremulousness of my hand.** 

Cornelius actually took the pencil and began to 
write, whereupon great drops of blood, forced from 
bis raw wounds by the pressure of his fingers upon 
the pencil, could be seen oozing out beneath the 
white linen. 

Great drops of sweat stood upon the brow of the 
Grand Pensionary. 

Cornelius wrote, — 

“August 20, 1672. 

“ My dear Godson, — Burn the parcel which I have 
entrusted to you. Burn it without looking at it, and 
without opening it, so that its contents may for 
ever remain unknown to yourself. Secrets of this 
description are death to those with whom they are 
deposited. Burn it, and you will have saved the lives 
of John and Cornelius. 

Farewell, and love me. 

“ Cornelius de Witt.’* 

John, with tears in his eyes, wiped off a drop of 
the noble blood which had soiled the leaf ; and having 
handed the dispatch to Craeke with final directions, 
returned to Cornelius, from whose face the pain had 
driven every vestige of colour, and who seemed near 

‘*Now,*’ said he, when honest Craeke sounds 
his old boatswain*s whistle, it will mean that he is 
clear of the mob and has reached the other side of 
the pond. And then it will be our turn to depart.*' 

Five minutes had not elapsed before a long and 
shrill whistle, blown in true seaman’s style, made 
itself heard through the leafy canopy of the elms 
and above all the uproar around the Buytenhof. 

The Pupil of John de Witt 21 

John raised his clasped hands heavenward in 
And now,” said he, let us be off, Cornelius.” 



While the clamour of the crowd in the square of 
the Buytenhof, which grew more and more menacing 
against the two brothers, determine4 John de Witt 
to hasten the departure of his brother Cornelius, a 
deputation of burghers had gone to the Town-hall to 
demand the withdrawal of Tilly^s horse. 

It was not far from the Buytenhof to the Hoog- 
straet ; and a stranger, who since the beginning of 
this scene had watched all its incidents with intense 
interest, was seen to wend his way with, or rather in 
the wake of, the others toward the Town-hall, to 
learn as soon as possible what took place there. 

This stranger was a very young man, of some 
twenty-two or three years, and for aught that 
appeared without especial vigour. He evidently had 
reasons for not wishing to be recognized, for he con- 
cealed his pale, face in a handkerchief of 

fine Frisian linen, with which he incessantly wiped 
his brow or his burning lips. 

With an eye as keen as that of a bird of prey, a 
long aquiline nose, and a finely-cut mouth, which 
was slightly open and was like a wound across his 
face, this man would have presented to Lavater, if 
Lavater had lived at that time, a subject for physiog- 
nomical investigations, the first results of which 
might not have been very favourable to the stranger. 

“ What difference can be detected between the 
features of a conqueror and those of a successful 
pirate?” the ancients used to ask. 

The same difference that there is between the eagle 


The Black Tulip 

and tlie vulture, — in the one case a serene and tran- 
quil expression, in the other fear and inquietude. 

By the same token, those pallid features and that 
slender sickly body, which hung* upon the skirts of 
the howling mob from the Buytenhof to the Hoog- 
straet, were the very type and model of a suspicious 
employer, or a thief in fear of arrest; and a police- 
officer would certainly have decided in favour of the 
latter supposition, on account of the great care with 
which the person who now occupies our attention 
sought to conceal his identity. 

He was plainly dressed, and apparently unarmed; 
his thin, wiry arm and his veined hand of aristocratic 
whiteness and delicacy were resting, not on the arm, 
but on the shoulder of an officer, who with his hand 
on his sword watched, with an interest easily under- 
stood, the drama that was being enacted around the 
Buytenhof, until his companion had left the square 
and compelled him to follow. 

On arriving at the square in front of the Hoog- 
straet, the man with the pale face pushed the other 
behind an open shutter, and fixed his eyes upon the 
balcony of the Town-hall. 

At the savage yells of the mob, the window of the 
Hocgstract opened, and a man came forth to parley 
with the people. 

‘‘Who is that on the balcony?’’ the young man 
asked the officer, indicating by the direction of his 
glance merely the orator, who seemed much excited, 
and held himself erect by the help of the balustrade, 
rather than iJeaned upon it. 

“ It is Deputy Bowelt,” replied the officer. 

* ‘ What sort of man is he ? Do you know anything 
of him?” 

‘ ‘ An honest man ; at least I believe so, Mon- 
seigneur. ” 

The young man upon hearing this appreciative 
estimate of Bowelt ’s character from his companion 
showed signs of such strange disappointment and 
evident dissatisfaction that the officer could not but 
remark it, and hastened to add, — 

The Pupil of John de Witt 23 

At least people say so, Monseigneur. I cannot 
say anything about it myself, as I have no personal 
acquaintance with Mynheer Bowelt. ^ ^ 

An honest man,” repeated he who was addressed 
as Monseigneur; ” do you mean to say that he is 
an honest man {brave homme), or a brave one {homme 
brave) ? ’ * 

‘‘Ah, Monseigneur must excuse me; I would not 
presume to draw such a fine distinction in the case of 
a man whom, I assure your Highness once more, I 
know only by sight.” 

“Well,” the young man muttered, “let us wait, 
and we shall soon see.” 

The officer bowed his head in token of assent, and 
was silent. 

“ If this Bowelt is an honest man,” his Highness 
continued, “ these hot-heads will meet with a very 
queer reception at his hands.” 

The nervous quiver of his hand, which moved in- 
voluntarily on the shoulder of his companion, like 
the fingers of a pianist over the keyboard, betrayed 
his burning impatience, so ill-concealed at certain 
times, and particularly at that moment, under the 
cold and sombre expression of his face. 

The chief of the deputation of the burghers was 
then heard interrogating the Deputy, whom he re- 
quested to let them know where the other deputies, 
his g-’C"-. were. 

“Gentlemen,” Bowelt repeated for the second 
time, “ I assure you that at this moment I am here 
alone with Mynheer d’Asperen, and I cannot come to 
any decision on my own responsibility.” 

“The order! we want the order!” cried several 
thousand voices. 

Mynheer Bowelt undertook to speak; but his words 
cotild not be heard, and he was only seen moving his 
arms in all sorts of despairing gestures. When, at 
last, he saw that he could not make himself heard, he 
turned towards the open window, and called Mynheer 

The latter gentleman now made his appearance on 

24 The Black Tulip 

the balcony, where he was saluted with shouts even 
more e icr<;clic than those with wdiich ^lynheer 
Bowelt had been received ten minutes before. 

This did not prevent him from undertaking the 
difficult task of haranguing the mob; but the mob 
preferred to bear down by force all opposition on the 
part of the States — which, however, offered no resist- 
ance to the sovereign people — rather than to listen 
to the speech of Mynheer d’Asperen. 

''Come,*' the young man coolly remarked, while 
the crowd was rushing into the principal door of the 
Hoogstraet, ‘‘ it seems that the question will be dis- 
cussed indoors, Colonel. Come, and let us hear the 

“Oh, Monseigneur! Monseigneur 1 take care!” 

“ Of what?” 

“ Among these deputies, there are many who have 
had dealings with you ; and it would be sufficient that 
only one of them should recognize your Highness.” 

“ Yes, to lay the foundation for the charge that I 
have been the instigator of all this work ; indeed, you 
are right,” said the young man, blushing for a 
moment from regret of having betrayed so much 
eagerness. Yes, you are right; let us remain here. 
From this place we can see them return with or with- 
out the order for the withdrawal of the dragoons, and 
then we may judge whether Mynheer Bowelt is an 
honest man or a brave one, which I am anxious to 

“ Why,” replied the officer, looking with astonish- 
ment at the personage whom he addressed as Mon- 
seigneur, “ why, your Highness surely does not sup- 
pose for one instant that the deputies will order 
Tilly’s horse to quit their post?” 

“ Why not?” asked the young man coldly. 

“ Because to issue such an order would be tanta- 
mount to signing the death-warrant of Cornelius and 
John de Witt.” 

“We shall see,” his Highness replied with the 
most perfect coolness. “ God alone knows what is 
going on within the hearts of men.” 

The Pupil of John de Witt 25 

The officer looked askance at the impassible counte- 
nance of his companion, and grew pale : he was an 
honest man as well as a brave one. 

From the spot where they stood, his Highness and 
his attendant heard the tumult and the heavy tramp 
of the crowd on the staircase of the Town-hall. 

Then the noise seemed to fill the whole square, as it 
came pouring out through the open windows of the 
hall, on the balcony in front of which Mynheers 
Bowelt and d’Asperen had appeared; they had, mean- 
while, withdrawn inside the building, fearing doubt- 
less that they might, if they remained on the balcony, 
be forced over the balustrade into the street by the 
pressure of the crowd. 

After this, confused h ■‘i, shapes were seen 

to pass to and fro in front of the windows : the 
council-hall was filling. 

Suddenly the noise subsided ; and as suddenly again 
it rose with redoubled intensity, and at last reached 
such a pitch that the old building shook to the very 

At length the living stream poured back through 
the galleries and stairs to the door, and they saw it 
come rushing out through the arched gateway like 
water from a spout. 

At the head of the first group, a man was flying 
rather than running, his face hideously distorted with 
Satanic glee : this man was the surgeon Tyckelaer. 

‘ * We have it ! we have it ! ^ ’ he cried, brandishing 
a paper in the air. 

‘‘They have the order!” muttered the officer, in 

“Well, then,” his TTighress quietly remarked, 
“ now my mind is relieved. You could not tell 
me, my dear Colonel, whether Mynheer Bowelt was 
an honest or a brave man; now I know that he is 

Then, gazing steadily after the crowd, which was 
rushing along before him, he continued, — 

‘ ‘ Let us now go to the Buytenhof , Colonel I I 
expect we shall see a very strange sight there.” 

26 The Black Tulip 

The officer bowed, and without making any reply, 
followed in the steps of his master. 

There was an immense crowd in the square and 
about the approaches to the prison ; but the dragoons 
of Tilly still held it in check as effeclively and 
unflinchingly as before. 

It was not long before the Count heard the increas- 
ing din of the approaching multitude, and soon he 
spied the advanced guard rushing on with the 
rapidity of a cataract. 

At the same time, he observed the paper, which was 
waving in the air above the clenched fists and glitter- 
ing weapons. 

“AhaT’ he exclaimed, rising in his stirrups and 
touching his lieutenant with the hilt of his sword, I 
really believe these rascals have got the order. '* 

‘‘What dastardly ruffians they are!" cried the 

It was indeed the order, which the burgher- 
guard received with a roar of triumph. They imme- 
diately left their position and advanced, with low- 
ered arms and fierce shouts, toward Count Tilly's 

But the Count was not the man to allow them to 
approach inconveniently near. 

“ Halt !" he cried, “ halt, and keep back from my 
horses' heads, or I give the word to advance.” 

“ Here is the order," a hundred insolent voices 
answered at once. 

He took it in amazement, cast his eyes rapidly over 
it, and said aloud, — 

“ The men who signed this order are the real 
murderers of Cornelius de Witt. I would rather 
have my two hands cut off than have written one 
single letter of this infamous order." 

Pushing back with the hilt of his sword the man 
who wanted to take it from him, he added, — 

‘ ‘ One moment ; papers like this are of importance, 
and should be preserved." 

Saying this, he folded up the document, and care- 
fully put it in the pocket oi his doublet. 

The Pupil of John de Witt 27 

Then, turning- round toward his troop, he gave the 
word of command, — 

‘‘ Dragoons, attention ! Right wheel 

He added in an undertone, yet loud enough for his 
words to be not altogether lost to those about him, — 

‘‘ And now, butchers, do your work 

A savage yell, which voiced all the keen hatred and 
ferocious triumph which were rife in that prison 
square, welcomed with a fresh outburst of jeering 
and yelling the departure of the troops as they quietly 
filed away. 

The Count tarried behind, facing to the last the 
infuriated populace, who followed, inch by inch, upon 
his horse’s retreating steps. 

John de Witt, as may be seen, had by no means 
exaggerated the danger, when he assisted his brother 
to rise and tried to hasten his departure. 

Cornelius, leaning on the arm of the Ex-Grand 
Pensionary, descended the stairs which led to the 
courtyard. At the bottom of the staircase he found 
the fair Rosa trembling like a leaf. 

‘‘ Ob, Mynheer John P’ she exclaimed, “what a 

“ What is it, my child?” asked De Witt. 

“ Why, they say that they are gone to the Hoog- 
s tract to obtain an order for Tilly horse to with- 
draw. ’ ’ 

“ It cannot be,” replied John. “ Indeed, my dear 
child, if ih(‘ di j 1, are withdrawn, we shall be in 
a very sad plight. ‘ ' 

“ I have some advice to give you,” Rosa said, 
trembling even more violently than before. 

“ Weil, let us hear what you have to say, my 
child. Why should I be surprised if God speaks to 
me through you?” 

“ Well, then, Mynheer John, if I were in your 
place, I should not go out through the main street.” 

* ‘ Why so, as the dragoons of Tilly are still at their 

“ Very true; but their orders, so long as they are 
not revoked, enjoin them to stop before the prison.” 

28 The Black Tulip 

“ Undoubtedly.” 

“ Have you ,an order for them to accompany you 
out of the town ? ’ ^ 

‘‘We have not.” 

“ Well, then, as soon as you have passed the ranks 
of the dragoons, you will fall into the hands of the 
people. ” 

“ But the burgher-guard ? ” 

‘ ‘ Alas ! the burgher-guard are the most hot-headed 
and furious of all. ’ ’ 

“ What are we to do, then?” 

“If I were in your place, Mynheer John,” the 
young girl timidly continued, “ I should go out by 
the postern. It opens upon a by-street, which will be 
quite deserted, for everybody is waiting in the Hoog- 
straet to see you come out by the principal entrance. 
Thence I should try to reach the gate by which you 
intend to leave the town.” 

“ But my brother is not able to walk,” said John. 

“ I will try,” Cornelius said, with an expression of 
most sublime fortitude. 

“But have you not your carriage?” asked the 

“ The carriage is waiting near the main entrance.” 

“ Not so,” she replied. “ I considered your coach- 
man to be a faithful man, and I told him to wait for 
you at the postern. ’ * 

The brothers looked at one another with much 
emotion, and then their united gaze rested upon the 
young girl with an expression that told of their heart- 
felt gratitude. 

“The question is now,” said the Grand Pension- 
ary, “whether Gryphus will open this door for us.” 

“ Indeed he will do no such thing,” said Rosa. 

“ Then what are we to do, pray?” 

“ I foresaw a refusal on his part, and just now, 
while he was talking from the window of the porter’s 
lodge with a dragoon, I took away the key from his 
bunch. ’ ’ 

“ And you have got it?” 

“ Here it is, Mynheer John.” 

The Pupil of John de Witt 29 

My child/’ said Cornelius, I have nothing to 
give you in exchange for the service you are render- 
ing us but the Bible which you will find in my room. 
It is the last gift of an honest man ; I hope it will 
bring you good luck. ” 

“ I thank you, Mynheer Cornelius; it shall never 
leave me/’ replied Rosa. 

Alas ! what a pity it is that I do not know ho-w 
to read/’ she said to herself with a sigh. 

“ The shouts and cries are growing louder and 
louder/’ said John; “there is not a moment to be 

“ Come this way,” said the maiden, who now led 
the two brothers through an inner lobby to the back 
of the prison. ^Guided by her, they descended a stair- 
case ot about a dozen steps, traversed a small court- 
yard, which was surrounded by strong walls, and 
the arched door having been opened for them by 
Rosa, they found themselves outside the prison in a 
lonely street, where their carriage was waiting for 
them with the steps lowered. 

“ Quick, quick, my masters; do you hear them?” 
Cried the coachman, in a deadly fright. 

But after having made Cornelius get into the 
carriage first, the Grand Pensionary turned towards 
the blushing girl, to whom he said, — 

“ Good-bye, my child. All the words in the world 
would but weakly express our gratitude ; but we will 
commend you to God, who will remember, I trust, 
that you have saved the lives of two of his creatures. ’ * 

Rosa took the hand which John de Witt held out 
to her, and kissed it with every show of respect. 

“ Go 1 for Heaven’s sake, go!” she said; “it 
seems as if they were forcing the door. ’ ’ 

John hastily got in, seated himself by the side of 
his brother, and called out to the coachman, as he 
drew the curtains close, — 

“ To the Tol-Hek I” 

The Tol-Hek was the iron gate leading to the 
harbour of Schevening, in which a small vessel was 
waiting for the two brothers. 

30 The Black Tulip 

Tlie carriage drove off with the fugitives at the full 
speed of a pair of spirited Flemish horses. Rosa 
followed them with her eyes, until they turned the 
corner of the street; whereupon she re-entered the 
prison, closing the postern behind her, and threw the 
key into a well. 

The noise which had led Rosa to suppose that the 
people were forcing the prison door was caused by 
the mob, who had made a tremendous -CM'-";* upon 
it as soon as the square was evacuated by the troops. 

Solid as the door was, and although^ Gryphus, to 
do him justice, stoutly refused to open it, yet it was 
evident that it could not long hold out against such an 
assault; and Gryphus, pale as death, was just asking 
himself whether it would not be better to open it than 
to let it be broken in pieces, when he felt some one 
gently pulling his coat. 

He turned round and saw Rosa. 

Do you hear these madmen?” he said. 

I hear them so well, my father, that if I were in 

your place ” 

You would open, the door?” 

“No, I should let them get in as best they can.” 

“ But they will kill me !” 

“ Yes, if they see you.” 

“ How do you propose that I should avoid being 
seen?^ * 

“ Hide yourself.” 

“ Where, pray?” 

“ In the secret dungeon.” 

“ But you, my child?” 

“ I will go with you, father. We will lock the 
door, and when they have left the prison, we can 
come out from our hiding-place.” 

“ By my soul, it's a good plan!” cried Gryphus; 
“ it's surprising how much sense there is in this 
little head!” 

Then, as the gate began to give way amid the 
triumphant shouts of the mob, she opened a little 
trap-door, and said, — 

“ Come, father, hurry.” 

The Murderers 31 

But meanwhile what will become of our 

“ God will watch over them/’ said the maiden^ 

while I watch over you.” 

Gryphus followed his daughter, and the trap-door 
closed over his head just as the door fell in, and gave 
admittance to the populace. 

The dungeon where Rosa had induced her father to 
hide himself, which was known as the secret dungeon, 
and where for the present we must leave the two, 
afforded them a perfectly safe retreat, being known 
only to the authorities, who used sometimes to con- 
fine important prisoners of state there, to guard 
against a rescue or an uprising. 

The people rushed into the prison, with the cry 

Death to the traitors I To the gallows with 
Cornelius de Witt I Death ! death I” 



The young man, with his hat still drawn over his 
eyes, still leaning on the arm of the officer, and still 
wiping his brow and his lips with his handkerchief 
from time to time, standing motionless in a corner 
of the square of the Buytenhof, and sheltered from 
observation by the overhanging shutters of a closed 
shop, was intent upon the spectacle afforded by the 
antics of the infuriated mob, — a spectacle which 
seemed to draw near its catastrophe. 

“ Indeed,” said he to the officer, ” I believe you 
were right, Van Deken, — the order which the 
deputies have signed is really the death-warrant of 
Mynheer Cornelias. Do you hear these people? They 
certainly have a most bitter enmity against the De- 

32 The Black Tulip 

In truth/’ replied the officer, ‘'I never heard 
such yelling.” 

They must have found out our man’s cell. Look, 
look I is not that the window of the cell where Cor- 
nelius was confined?” 

A man had seized with both hands and was violently 
shaking the iron bars of the window in the room 
which Cornelius had left only ten minutes before. 

“Hallo, there,” shrieked the man; “he is not 
here !” 

“ How is that, — not there?” those of the mob who 
had been the last to arrive called from the street, 
being unable to force their way into the prison, so 
crowded was it. 

“No, no,” repeated the man in a rage; ” he must 
have made his escape. ’ ’ 

“ What does the fellow say?” asked his Highness, 
growing quite pale. 

“Oh, Monseigneur, he says something which 
would be very fortunate if it should turn out 

“ Certainly, it would be fortunate if it were true,” 
said the young man. “ Unfortunately it cannot be 
true. ” 

“ But look !” said the officer. 

And indeed, other faces, furious and contorted with 
rage, showed themselves at the windows, crying, — 

‘ ‘ Escaped ! gone ! they have been assisted to 

And the people in the street repeated with fearful 
imprecations, — 

“Escaped! gone! Let us run after them, and 
hunt them down ! ’ * 

“ Monseigneur, it would seem that Mynheer Cor- 
nelius has really escaped,” said the officer. 

“Yes, from prison, perhaps,” replied the other, 
“ but not from the town. You will see, Van Deken, 
that the poor fellow will find the gate closed against 
him which he hoped to find open.” 

“ Has any order been given to close the town 
gates, Monseigneur?” 

The Murderers 33 

No, — at least I do not think so; who could have 
given such an order?’ ' 

‘ ‘ Who, indeed ! What leads your Highness to 
think so?” 

“There are such things as fatalities,” his High- 
ness replied, in an off-hand manner; “ and the 
greatest men have sometimes fallen victims to them.” 

At these words the officer felt his blood run cold, 
for he felt sure that in one way or another the 
fugitive’s fate was sealed. 

At this moment the roar of the multitude broke 
forth like thunder, for they had become quite certain 
that Cornelius de Witt was no longer in the prison. 

Cornelius and John had driven along by the edge of 
the pond and taken the main street which leads to the 
Tol-Hek, giving directions to the coachman to 
slacken his pace, in order that no suspicion might be 
aroused by the rapid pace at which they were driving. 

But when he had gone so far that he could see 
the gate in the distance, and reflected that he was 
leaving imprisonment and death behind while life and 
liberty lay before him, the coachman neglected every 
precaution, and urged his horses to a gallop. 

All at once he stopped. 

“What is the matter?” asked John, putting his 
head out of the coach-window. 

“ Oh, my masters !” cried the coachman, “ the — ” 

The honest fellow’s terror was so great that he 
could not speak. 

“Well, go on; what is it?” urged the Grand 

“ Alas 1 the gate is closed.” 

“ What ! the gate closed? It is not usual to close 
the gate during the day.” 

“But look!” 

John de Witt leaned out of the window, and saw 
that the gate was indeed closed. 

“ Never mind, but drive on,” said John; “ I have 
with me the order for the commutation of the punish*' 
ment, and the gatekeeper will let us pass.” 

The carriage resumed its journey, but it was 


34 The Black Tulip 

evident that the driver was no longer urging* his 
horses as confidently as before. 

Moreover, when John de Witt put his head out of 
the c\] -ririge-windov., he was seen and recognized by 
a brewer, who, being behind his companions, was just 
putting up his shutters in all haste to join them at the 
Buytenhof. He uttered a cry of surprise, and ran 
after two other men, who were hurrying along before 
him. He overtook them about a hundred yards 
farther on, and told them what he had seen. The 
three men then stopped, looking after the carriage, 
being, however, not yet quite sure whom it contained. 

The carriage in the meanwhile arrived at the Tol- 

“ Open I” cried the coachman. 

Open !** echoed the gatekeeper, from the thres- 
hold of his lodge; it’s all very well to say, ‘ Open,’ 
but what am I to do it with?” 

With the key, to be sure,” said the coachman. 

** With the key? Oh, yes ! but in order to do that 
one must have it. ’ ’ 

‘ ‘ What ! Do you mean to say that you have not 
the key of this gate?” demanded the coachman. 

‘^No, I haven’t it!” 

What has become of it?” 

** Why, they have taken it from me.” 


Some one, probably, who had a mind that no one 
should leave the town. ’ ’ 

My good man,” said the Grand Pensionary, 
putting out his head from the window, and risking 
all to save all; ” my good man, it is for me, John 
de Witt, and my brother Cornelius, whom I am 
taking away into exile.” 

Oh, Mynheer de Witt ! I am indeed grieved 
beyond measure,” said the gatekeeper, rushing to- 
wards the carriage; “ but upon my honour, the key 
has been taken from me.’* 

When, pray?” 

** This morning.” 

‘‘By whom?” 

The Murderers 35 

“By a pale, thin young man of about twenty- 
two. ^ ’ 

‘ ‘ Why did you give it up to him ? * ’ 

“ Because he showed me an order, signed and 

“ By whom?” 

“ By the gentlemen at the Town-hall.” 

“In that event,” said Cornelius, calmly, “our 
doom seems to be sealed.” 

Do you know whether the same precaution has 
been taken at all the other gates ? ’ ’ 

“I do not.” 

“ Come,” said John to the coachman, “ God 
enjoins upon man to do all that is in his power to 
preserve his life; drive to another gate.” 

Then while the servant was turning his horses, 
John said to the gatekeeper, — 

“Thanks for your good intentions, my good 
friend; the will must count for the deed. You had 
the will to save us, and in the eyes of the Lord, it is 
as if you had succeeded. * ’ 

“Alas!” said the gatekeeper, “do you see vi^hat 
is going on down there?” 

“Drive at a gallop through that group,” John 
called out to the coachman, “ and take the street to 
the left; it is our only hope.” 

The group which John alluded to had for its nucleus 
those three men whom we left looking after the 
carriage, and who since that time, while John was 
talking with the gatekeeper, had been joined by seven 
or eight others. 

These new-comers were evidently n-'cd''? i mis- 
chief with regard to the carriage. 

When they saw the horses galloping down upon 
them, they placed themselves across the street, 
brancilshing cudgels in their hands, and calling out,— 

“ Stop ! stop I” 

The coachman, however, leaned toward them, and 
lashed them furiously with his whip. 

At last the carriage and its would-be wrreckers 
came together* 

36 The Black Tulip 

The brothers De Witt could see nothing, being 
closely shut up in the carriage. But they could feel 
the rearing of the horses, followed by a violent shock. 
There was a moment of suspense, while the vehicle 
seemed to shake in every part ; but it almost immedi- 
ately set oif again, passing over something round and 
elastic, which seemed to be the body of a prostrate 
man, and whirled away amid a volley of the fiercest 

‘‘ Alas said Cornelius, ‘‘I am afraid we have 
hurt some one.’’ 

Faster ! faster !” cried John. 

But notwithstanding this order the carriage sud- 
denly came to a standstill. 

Well ! what now?” asked John. 

‘ * Look there ! ’ ’ said the coachman. 

John looked. 

The whole mass of the populace from the Buytenhof 
appeared at the end of the street through which the 
carriage was passing, and came roaring on as if 
driven by a cyclone. 

“ Stop, and save yourself,” said John to the coach- 
man ; ‘‘it is useless to go any farther, — we are lost !” 

“Here they are! here they are!” five hundred 
voices were crying* at the same time. 

“Yes, here they are, the traitors, the murderers, 
the assassins !” answered the men who were running 
after the carriage to the people who w^ere coming to 
meet it. The former carried in their arms the lifeless 
body of one of their companions, who had been 
trodden down by the horses while trying to seize their 

His body was the object over which the two 
brothers had felt their carriage pass. 

The coachman stopped his horses, but notwith- 
standing his master’s entreaties he refused to make 
his escape. 

In an instant the carriage was surrounded by those 
who followed and those who were coming toward it. 

For an instant it rose above the mass of moving 
heads like a floating island. 

The Murderers 37 

But suddenly the floating island came to a stand- 
still. A blacksmith with his hammer struck down 
one of the horses, who fell in his traces. 

At this moment, the shutter of a window opened, 
and disclosed the pale face and gloomy eyes of the 
young man, who watched the approaching cata- 
strophe with most absorbed interest. 

Behind him appeared the face of the officer, almost 
as pale as his own. 

Good heavens, Monseigneur, what is going to 
happen?” whispered the officer. 

“ Something very terrible, to a certainty,” replied 
the other. 

‘‘Oh, see, Monseigneur! they are the 

Grand Pensionary from the carriage; they strike 
him ; they tear him to pieces !” 

“ Indeed, these people must certainly be moved by 
most intense hatred,” said the young man, with the 
same impassible tone which he had maintained 

“And now they are d : <;* out Cornelius, — 

Cornelius, who is already all torn and mangled by the 
torture. Oh, look, look, for God’s sake !” 

“ Indeed, it is Cornelius beyond doubt.” 

The officer uttered a feeble cry, and turned his 
head away. 

What had happened was that the Ruart de Puiten, 
while he was yet on the lowest step of the carriage, 
and before he had set foot on the ground, received a 
blow from an iron bar, which broke his skull. He 
rose once more, but immediately fell again. 

Some fellows then seized him by the feet and 
dragged him into the crowd, into the midst of which 
one might have followed him by the trail of blood he 
left behind him; and the infuriated rabble closed in 
upon him with savage yells of malignant exultation. 

The young man — a thing which would have been 
thought impossible — grew even paler than before, 
and his eyes were for a moment veiled behind the 

The officer saw this sign of compassion, the first 

38 The Black Tulip 

that ills companian had allowed to escape him, and 
wishing to avail himself of his softer mood — 

“ Come, come, Monseigneur/' he exclaimed, “ for 
here they are also going to murder the Grand 

Pensionary/’ . 

But the young man had already opened his eyes 


“ So they are!” he said. ‘‘The people are im- 
placable. It does not pay to offend them. ” 

“ Monseigneur,” said the officer, “could we not 
save this poor man, who has been your Highness’s 
tutor? If there be any way, tell me, and though I 
should perish in the attempt ” 

William of Orange — for he it was— frowned 
sternly; but restraining the gleam of bitter malice 
which glistened in his half-closed eye, he answered, — 

“ Colonel van Deken, go, I beg you, and see that 
my troops are under arms, and ready for any emerg- 
ency. ” 

“But am I to leave 'h • - here, alone, 

within reach of all these murderers?’^ 

“ Pray don’t worry about my welfare more than I 
do myself,” was the Prince’s gruff rejoinder. “ Go !” 

The officer started off with a speed which was much 
less owing to his military instinct of obedience than 
to his pleasure at being relieved from the necessity of 
witnessing the shocking spectacle of the murder of 
the other brother. 

He had scarcely left the room, when John — who, 
with an almost superhuman effort, had reached the 
stone steps of a house nearly opposite that where 
his former pupil Ijiding— began to stagger under 
the blows which were inflicted on him from all sides, 
calling out, — 

“ My brother — ^where is my brother?” 

One of the ruffians knocked off his hat with a blow 
of his clenched fist. 

Another waved his bloody hands in his face : this 
worthy had disembowelled Cornelius, and was now 
intent upon seizing the opportunity of serving the 
Grand Pensionary in the same manner, while they 

The Murderers 39 

were dr?^£^:ng the dead body of Cornelius to the 

John uttered a piteous cry, and put one of his hands 
before his eyes. 

Oh! you close your eyes, do you?’^ said one of 
the soldiers of the ; . 'd; “ well, I will save 

you the trouble by putting them out for you. 

He suited the action to the word by stabbing him 
with his pike in the face, whereupon the blood spurted 

“ My brother!’^ cried John de Witt, trying to see, 
through the stream of blood which blinded him, what 
had become of Cornelius ; “ my brother, my brother ! ” 

'‘Go, and join him!*’ roared another of the 
assassins, putting his musket to his temple and pull- 
ing the trigger. 

But it missed fire. 

The fellow then shifted his musket, and taking it 
by the barrel with both hands, struck down John de 
Witt with the stock. 

John staggered and fell at his feet ; but once more 
he raised himself with a last effort, and cried, — 

" My brother !” in so heartrending a tone that the 
young man opposite closed the shutter. 

However, there was little more to see, for a third 
assassin held a pistol close to his face and fired it. 
This time the weapon did not miss fire, and the bullet 
blew out his brains."' 

John de Witt fell to rise no more. 

Thereupon every one of the miscreants, embold- 
ened by his fall, must needs fire his gun at him, or 
strike him with the sledge-hammer, or stab him with 
knife or sword ; every one must needs drain a drop of 
blood from the fallen hero, and tear off a shred of his 

Then, after they had mangled and torn and com- 
pletely stripped the two brothers, the mob dragged 
their naked and bloody bodies to an extemporized 
gibbet, where amateur executioners hung them up by 
the feet. 

Then came the most dastardly scoundrels of all. 

40 The Black Tulip 

who had not dared approach them when alive, but cut 
the dead flesh in pieces, and then went about in the 
town selling small slices of the bodies of John and 
Cornelius at ten sous a piece. 

We cannot take upon ourselves to say whether, 
through the almost imperceptible chink of the shutter, 
the young man witnessed the conclusion of this shock- 
ing scene; but at the very moment when they were 
hanging the two martyrs on the gibbet, he made his 
way through the mob, which was too much absorbed 
in its congenial task to take any notice of him, and 
reached the Tol-Hek, which was still closed. 

** Ah, Mynheer,’' cried the gatekeeper, have you 
brought back the key?” 

“ Yes, my man, here it is.” 

“Alas! it is most unfortunate that you did not 
bring it to me just a quarter of an hour sooner,” 
said the gatekeeper, with a sigh. 

“ Why so?” asked the Prince. 

“ Because I might then have opened the gate for 
the brothers De Witt; whereas, finding it locked, 
they were obliged to retrace their steps, and they 
have fallen into the hands of the ruffians who were 
pursuing them.” 

“ Gate ! gate !” cried a voice, which sounded as if 
its owner were in a tremendous hurry. 

The Prince turned and recognized Colonel van 

“Is that you, Colonel?” he said. “ Have you not 
left the Hague yet ? This is executing my orders very 
slowly. ” 

“ iVlonseigneur, ” replied the Colonel, “ this is the 
third gate at which I have presented myself ; the two 
others were closed.” 

“ Well, this good man will open this one for us. — 
Open, my friend,” said the Prince to the gatekeeper, 
who stood gaping with astonishment on hearing the 
title of Monseigneur which Colonel van Deken 
bestowed upon this pale young man, to whom he 
himself had been speaking in such a familiar way. 

As if to make up for his fault, he hastened to 

The Murderers 41 

Open the To!-Hek, which swung creaking on its 

“ Will Monseigneur take my horse asked the 

‘ ‘ Thanks, Colonel, but I should have a mount 
waiting for me close at hand.'’ 

And taking from his pocket a golden whistle, such 
as was generally used at that time for summoning 
one’s servants, he blew a long shrill blast upon it, 
whereupon an equerry on horseback speedily made his 
appearance, leading another horse by the bridle. 

William, without touching the stirrup, vaulted into 
the saddle of the led horse, and, spurring vigorously, 
set off toward the Leyden road. 

At tha* fw^int he turned. The Colonel was follow- 
ing ^ him within a horse’s length. The Prince 
motioned him to ride beside him. 

y Do you Jknow,” he then said, without drawing 
rein, that those rascals have killed John de Witt 
as well as his brother?” 

‘‘Alas, !” the Colonel answered 

sadly, “ I should like it much better if these two 
obstacles still existed between yourself and the actual 
Stadtholderate of Holland.” 

“ Certainly, it would have been better,” said 
William, “ if what did happen had not happened. 
But it cannot be helped now, and we have had nothing 
to do with it. Let us push on, Colonel, so that we 
may arrive at Alphen before the message which the 
States are sure to send to me in camp. ’ ’ 

The Colonel bowed, allowed the Prince to ride 
ahead, and fell back to the same position he occupied 
before the Prince addressed him. 

“ Ah !” muttered William of Orange, with an evil 
frown, clenching his teeth and drh-irig his spurs into 
his horse’s side; “ah! I should like well to see the 
expression on the face of Louis, the Sun of the 
World, when he learns what has befallen his trusty 
friends, the De Witts ! Oh, thou Sun ! thou Sun I 
as surely as I am called William the Taciturn, thou 
Sun, thou hadst best look to thy radiance ! ’ ’ 

42 The Black Tulip 

And away upon his mettled steed sped this young 
Prince, the relentless rival of the great king; this 
Stadtholder in embryo, who had been, but the day 
before, very uncertainly established in his new-born 
power, but for whom the burghers of the Hague had 
built a staircase with the bodies of John and Cor- 
nelius, two princes as noble as he in the eyes of God 
and man. 



While the of the Hague were tearing in 

pieces the bodies oi John and Cornelius de Witt, and 
while William of Orange, after having made sure 
that his two antagonists were really dead, was gallop- 
ing along the Leyden road, followed by Colonel van 
Deken, whom he found a little too compassionate to 
honour him any longer with his confidence, Craeke, 
the faithful servant, mounted on a good horse, and 
little suspecting what terrible events had taken place 
since his departure, rode along the tree-lined embank- 
ments until he was clear of the town and the neigh- 
boiiiing \iil'ges. 

Being once safe, he left his horse at a livery stable, 
in order not to arouse suspicion, and tranquilly con- 
tinued his journey on the canal-boats, which conveyed 
him by easy stages to Dort, making their way under 
skilful guidance by the shortest possible routes 
through the windings of the stream, which held in 
its watery embrace so many fascinating little islands, 
edged with willows and rushes and abounding in 
luxuriant vegetation, whereon flocks of fat sheep were 
browsing sleepily and peacefully. 

Craeke from afar recognized Dort, the smiling city, 
at the foot of a hill dotted with windmills. He saw 
the fine red-brick houses, mortared in white lines, 

The Tulip-Fancier 43 

bathing* their feet in the water, and their balconies, 
open toward the river, decked out with silk tapestry 
embroidered with gold flowers, the wonderful fabrics 
of India and China; and near these brilliant stuffs, 
long lines set permanently to catch the greedy eels, 
which are attracted toward the houses by the garbage 
thrown every day from the kitchen windows into the 

Craeke, standing on the deck of the boat, saw, 
across the moving sails of the windmills, on the slope 
of the hill, the red and white house which was his 
goal. The outlines of its roof were hidden by the 
yellow foliage of a screen of poplar trees, the whole 
building having for ; .i a dark grove of 

gigantic elms. It was so situated that the sun’s rays 
were concentrated upon it, and made dry and warm 
and even wholesome the mist, which the barrier of 
trees could not prevent the wind bringing thither from 
the river every morning and evening. 

Having disembarked unobserved amid the usual 
bustle of the city, Craeke at once directed his steps 
toward the house we have just described, and of 
which we offer our readers a description, which is 

White, trim, and tidy, even more cleanly scoured 
and more carefully waxed in the hidden corners than 
in the places which were exposed to view, this house 
gave shelter to a truly happy mortal. 

This happy mortal, rara avis, as Juvenal has it, was 
Dr. van Baerle, the godson of Cornelius de Witt. 
He had inhabited the house we have described ever 
since his childhood ; for it was the house in which his 
father and grandfather, old-time noble merchants of 
the noble city of Dort, were born. 

Mynheer van Baerle, the father, had amassed in 
the Indian trade three or four hundred thousand 
florins, which Mynheer van Baerle, the son, at the 
death of his loving and cherished parents, in 1688, 
found still quite new, although one set of them bore 
the date of 1640, and the other that of 1610, — a fact 
which proved that they were the florins of Van Baerle 

44 The Black Tulip 

the father and of Van Baerle the grandfather; but we 
hasten to say that these three or four hundred thou- 
sand florins were only pocket-money for Cornelius van 
Baerle, the hero of this story, as his landed property 
in the province yielded him an income of about ten 
thousand florins a year. 

When the worthy citizen, Cornelius’s father, 
shuffled off this mortal coil three months after the 
decease of his wife, who seemed to have gone first 
to lighten his path in death as she had ■ e;' his 

journey through life, he said to his son, as he em- 
braced him for the last time, — 

“ Eat, drink, and spend your money, if you wish 
to know what life really is ; for as to toiling from 
morn to evening on a wooden stool or in a leathern 
chair, in a :v. *' or a laboratory, that cer- 

tainly is not living, xour turn to die will come; and 
if you are not then so fortunate as to have a son, you 
will let our name die out, and my astonished florins, 
which no one has ever weighed but my father, myself, 
and the coiner, will find themselves the property of 
an unknown master. Above all things, do not imitate 
the example of your godfather, Cornelius de Witt, 
who has plunged into politics, the most ungrateful 
of all careers, and who will certainly come to an 
untimely end. ” 

And so worthy Mynheer van Baerle died, to the 
intense grief of his son Cornelius, who cared very 
little for the florins and very much for his father. 

Cornelius thereafter remained alone in his great 

In vain his godfather offered him a place in the 
public service ; in vain did he try to arouse In him a 
thirst for glory, — although Cornelius, to gratify his 
godfather, did embark with De Ruyter upon ‘‘The 
Seven Provinces,” the flagship of a fleet of one 
hundred and thirty-nine sail, with which the famous 
admiral set out to contend single-handed against the 
combined forces of France and England. When, 
guided by the pilot L^ger, he had come within 
musket-shot of the “ Prince,” with the Duke of York 

The Tulip-Fancier 45 

(the English king’s brother) aboard, upon which De 
Ruyter, his Mentor, made so sharp and well-directed 
an attack that the Duke, perceiving that his vessel 
would soon have to strike, made the best of his way 
aboard the ‘‘ Saint Michael;’’ when he had seen the 
‘‘ Saint Michael,” riddled and shattered by the Dutch 
broadside, drift out of the line; when he had wit- 
nessed the sinking of the ‘‘ Earl of Sandwich,” and 
the death by fire or drowning of four hundred sailors ; 
when he realized that the result of all this destruction 
— after twenty ships had been blown to pieces, three 
thousand men killed and five thousand injured — was 
that nothing was decided, that both sides claimed the 
victory, that the fighting would soon begin again, and 
that just one more name, that of South wold Bay, had 
been added to the list of battles; when he had esti- 
mated how much time is lost simply in shutting his 
eyes and ears by a man who likes to use his reflective 
powers even while his fellow-creatures are cannon- 
ading one another, — Cornelius bade farewell to De 
Ruyter, to the Ruart de Pulten, and to glory ; kissed 
the knees of the Grand Pensionary, for whom he 
entertained the deepest veneration, and retired to his 
house at Dort, rich in his well-earned repose, his 
twenty-eight years, an iron constitution, and keen per- 
ceptions, and his capital of more than four hundred 
thousands of florins, and income of ten thousand, con- 
vinced that a man is always endowed by Heaven with 
too much for his own happiness, and just enough to 
make him miserable. 

Consequently, and to indulge his own idea of happi- 
ness, Cornelius began to be interested in the study of 
plants and insects ; collected and classified all the 
Flora of the islands, arranged the whole entomology 
of the province, on which he wrote a treatise, with 
plates drawn by his own hands ; and at last, being at 
a loss what to do with his time, and especially with 
iiis money, which went on accumulating at a most 
alarming rate, he took it into his head to choose 
among _^11 the fads of his country and of his age one 
of the most elegant and expensive* 

46 The Black Tulip 

He became a tulip-fancier. * 

It was the time, as is well known, when the Dutch 
and the Portuguese, rivalling each other in this 
branch of horticulture, had begun to deify the tulip, 
and to make more of a cult of it than ever naturalists 
dared to make of the human race, for fear of arousing 
the jealousy of the Deity. 

Soon from Dort to Mons people talked of nothing 
but Mynheer van Baerle’s tulips; and his beds, pits, 
drying-rooms, and drawers of bulbs were visited, as 
the galleries and libraries of Alexandria were in the 
olden days by illustrious Roman travellers. 

Van Baerle began by expending his yearly revenue 
in laying the ground-work of his collection, after 
which he encroached upon his store of new florins to 
bring it to perfection. His exertions, indeed, were 
crowned with most magnificent results : he produced 
five new species of tulips, which he called the “ Jane, 
after his mother ; the “ Van Baerle,’^ after his father; 
and the Cornelius,” after his godfather: the other 
names have escaped us, but amateurs will be sure to 
find them in the catalogues of the time. 

In the beginning of the year 1672, Cornelius de 
Witt came to Dort for three months, to live at his old 
family mansion ; for it is known not only that he was 
born in that city, but that the De Witt family had its 
origin there. 

Cornelius at that period, in the words of William 
of Orange, was I)c:>^nfung to enjoy the most perfect 
unpopularity. And yet in the minds of his fellow- 
citizens the good burghers of Dort, he was not lost 
beyond redemption; and while they did not particu- 
larly like his somewhat too pronounced republican- 
ism, they were proud of his personal worth, and when 
he visited their town they hastened to offer him the 

After he had expressed his thanks to his fellow- 
citizens, Cornelius proceeded to his old family man- 
sion, and gave directions for some repairs, which he 
wished to have made before the arrival of Jiis wife 
and children. 

The Tulip-Fancier 47 

Thence the Ruart de Pulten directed his steps 
toward the house of his godson, who, perhaps, was 
the only person in Dort as yet unacquainted with the 
presence of Cornelius in his native town. 

In the same degree as Cornelius de Witt had 
excited hatred by sowing those evil seeds which are 
called political passions, Van Baerle had won the 
good-will of his fellow-citizens by completely neglect- 
ing the cultivation of politics in his absorption in 

Van Baerle was truly beloved by his servants and 
labourers ; therefore he could not conceive that any 
man on earth could wish ill to another. 

And ^ yet it must be said, to the discredit of 
humanity, that Cornelius van Baerle, without know- 
ing it, had a much more ferocious, fierce, and implac- 
able enemy than the Grand Pensionary and his 
brother had up to that time been made aware of 
among those members of the Orange faction who 
were most hostile to the devoted brothers, who had 
never been sundered by the least misunderstanding 
during their lives, and by their mutual devotion in the 
face of death made sure the existence of their more 
than brotherly affection beyond the grave. 

From the time when Cornelius van Baerle began to 
devote himself to tulip-growing, he had spent on this 
hobby his j^early revenue and the florins of his father. 
There was at Dort, living next door to him, a citizen 
of the name of Isaac Boxtel, who from the day that 
he had begun to think for himself had indulged the 
same fancy, and would almost faint at the mere 
mention of the word ‘‘tulban,'’ which (as we are 
assured by the “ Floriste Francaise,” the most highly- 
considered authority in matters relating to this flower) 
is the first word in the Cingalese tongue which was 
ever used to designate that masterpiece of floriculture 
which is now called the tulip. 

Boxtel had not the good fortune of being rich like 
Van Baerle. He had, therefore, with great care and 
patience, and by dint of strenuous exertions, laid out 
near his house at Dort a erarden fit for the culture of 

48 The Black Tulip 

his cherished flower ; he had mixed the soil according 
to the most approved directions, and given to hh 
hot-beds just as much heat and fresh air as th« 
strictest rules of horticulture exact. 

Isaac knew the temperature of his frames to the 
twentieth part of a degree. He knew the strength oi 
the current of air, and managed the draught so that i1 
would not impart too violent a motion to the stems of 
his flowers. His specimens soon began to meet with 
favour. They were beautiful, and sought after, too. 
Several fanciers had come to see BoxteTs tulips. At 
last he brought forth amid all the Linnaeuses and 
Tourneforts a tulip which bore his name, and which, 
after having travelled all through France, had found 
its way into Spain, and penetrated as far as Portugal, 
where King Don Alphonso VI., — who when driven 
from Lisbon had retired to the Island of Terceira, 
where he amused himself, not like the Great Cond6, 
with watering his carnations, but with growing tulips, 
— on seeing the Boxtel,’^ remarked that it was 
** NOT BAD.” 

All at once Cornelius van Baerle, who after all his 
learned pursuits had been seized with the tulipomania, 
made some changes in his house at Dort, which, as we 
have stated, was next door to that of Boxtel. He added 
one storey to a certain building in his courtyard, 
which took away about half a degree of warmth from 
BoxtePs garden, and in exchange returned half a 
degree of cold ; not to mention that it interfered with 
the draught, and upset all the horticultural calcula- 
tions and arrangements of his ncigJiboiir. 

After all, this mishap appeared to Boxtel of no great 
consequence. Van Baerle was but a painter; that is 
to say, a species of lunatic, who distorts and dis- 
figures Nature’s wonders by trying to reproduce them 
on canvas. The painter, he thought, had raised his 
studio one storey to get better light, as he had a 
perfect right to do. Mynheer van Baerle was a 
painter, as Mynheer Boxtel was a tulip-grower; he 
wanted somewhat more sun for his paintings, and so 
he took half a degree from his neighbour’s tulips. 

The Tulip-Fancier 49 

The law was with Van Baerle, and he must make 
the best of it. 

Moreover Isaac made the discovery that too much 
sun was injurious to tulips, and that this flower grew 
more quickly and assumed more g*orgeous hues with 
the temperate warmth of morning and evening- than 
with the powerful heat of the midday sun. He there- 
fore felt almost grateful to Cornelius van Baerle for 
having furnished him with a sunshade at no expense. 

It may be that this was not entirely true, and that 
BoxteBs real feelings were not accurately reflected in 
what he said about his neighbour; but great minds 
find a marvellous amount of comfort in philosophical 
reflections, even in the midst of most terrible 

But, alas I what was the agony of the unfortunate 
Boxtel on seeing the windows of the newly-built storey 
set out with bulbs and seedlings, with tulips in full 
bloom, and tulips in pots; in short, with everything 
dear to the heart of a monomaniac in tulips. 

There were bundles of labels, pigf‘OR-ho!c and 
drawers with compartments, and wire-guards for the 
pigeon-holes, to allow free access to the air while 
keeping out mice, weevils, field-mice, dormice, and 
rats, all of them very inquisitive and expensive 
amateurs in tulips at two thousand francs a bulb. 

Boxtel was amazed when he saw all this apparatus, 
but he was not as yet aware of the full extent of his 
misfortune. Van Baerle was known to be fond of 
everything that pleases the eye. He studied Nature 
in all her aspects for the benefit of his paintings, which 
were as carefully finished in detail as those of Gerard 
Dow, his master, and of Midris, his friend. Was it 
not possible, that, having to paint the interior of a 
tulip-grower's, he had collected in his new studio all 
the accessories of its decoration ? 

Yet although somewhat comforted by this illusory 
supposition, Boxtel was not able to resist the burning 
curiosity which was devouring him. In the evening, 
therefore, he placed a ladder against the partition-wall 
between their gardens, and looking into that of his 

50 The Black Tulip 

nelg-hbour Van Baerle, he convinced himself that the 
soil of a large square bed, which had formerly been 
occupied by different plants, had been dug up and 
re-arranged in beds of loam mixed with river mud (a 
combination which is particularly favourable to the 
tulip), and the whole surrounded by a border of turf 
to keep the soil in its place. Besides this, the bed 
was so arranged as to receive the rays of the rising 
and setting sun, while sufficiently shaded to temper 
the noon-day heat; water in abundant supply was 
close at hand, and it had a south-west exposure. In 
short, nothing was lacking to insure not only success 
but real advancement. There could be no doubt that 
Van Baerle had become a tulip-grower. 

Boxtel at once pictured to himself this learned 
man, with a capital of four hundred thousand and a 
yearly income of ten thousand florins, devoting all 
his intellectual and financial resources to tulip culture 
on a vast scale. He foresaw his neighbour's success 
vaguely but near at hand ; and he felt such a pang at 
the mere idea of this success that his hands dropped 
powerless at his side, his knees trembled, and in his 
despair he fell headlong from the ladder. 

Thus it was not for the sake of painted tulips but 
for real ones that Van Baerle took from him half a 
degree of warmth. Thus Van Baerle was to have the 
most admirable exposure to wind and sun, and, 
besides, a large chamber in which to preserve his 
bulbs and seedlings, — a well-lighted, airy, and well- 
ventilated apartment, — ^which was an unattainable 
luxury for Boxtel, who had been obliged to give up 
for this purpose his bedroom, and, lest the presence of 
animal organisms might injure his bulbs and seed- 
lings, had taken up his abode in a miserable garret. 

Boxtel, then, was to have next door to him a rival 
and competitor, perhaps a successful one; and this 
rival, instead of being some unknown obscure gar- 
dener, was the godson of Mynheer Cornelius de Witt, 
— that is to say, a celebrity. 

Boxtel, as the reader may see, was not possessed 
of the spirit of Porus, who, on being conquered by 

The Hatred of a Tulip-Fancier 51 

Alexander, consoled himself with the renown of his 

What would happen if Van Baerle should ever pro- 
duce a new variety of tulip, and name it the John de 
Witt, after having named one the Cornelius ? It was 
indeed enough to make one choke with rage. 

Thus Boxtel, in his jealous foreboding, became the 
prophet of his own misfortune, and foresaw what was 
to happen. And after having made this melancholy 
discovery, he passed the most wretched night possible 
to imagine. 



From that moment Boxtel was no longer absorbed 
in his flowers, but was anxious and afraid. He laid 
aside the pursuit of a favourite subject, which gives 
vigour and elevation to the eiforts of mind and body 
alike, and all his thoughts ran only upon the injury 
which his neighbour was likely to inflict upon him. 

Van Baerle, as may easily be imagined, had no 
sooner begun to apply the keen intellect with which 
Nature had so bountifully endowed him to his new 
fancy than he succeeded in growing the finest tulips. 
Indeed, he succeeded better than any one at Harlem 
or Leyden — the two towns which can boast the best 
soil and the most congenial climate — in varying the 
colours, modifying the shape, and producing new 

He belonged to that witty, ingenious school, who 
took for their motto in the seventeenth century the 
aphorism uttered by one of their number in 1653, — 
“ To despise flowers is to offend God. 

From that premise the school of tulip-fanciers, the 
most exclusive of all schools, worked out the follow- 
ing syllogism in the same year, — 

52 The Black Tulip 

“ To despise flowers is to offend God. 

“ The more beautiful the flower is, the more does one offend 
God in despising- it. 

“ The tulip IS the most beautiful of all flowers. 

Therefore, he who despises the tulip offends God beyond 
measure. ’’ 

By such reasoning, it can be seen that the four or 
five thousand tulip-growers , of Holland, France, and 
Portugal, leaving out those of Ceylon and China and 
the Indies, might, if so disposed, put the whole world 
under the ban, and condemn as schismatics and 
heretics and deserving of death the several hundred 
millions of mankind whose hopes of salvation were 
not centred upon the tulip. 

We cannot doubt that in such a cause Boxtel, 
though he was Van Baerle's deadly foe, would have 
marched under the same banner with him. 

Mynheer van Baerle, therefore, was very success- 
ful, and his name was in everybody’s mouth; so that 
Boxtel disappeared for ever from the list of the 
notable tulip-growers in Holland, and the fraternity 
of Dort were now represented by Cornelius van 
Baerle, the modest and inoffensive savant. 

Thus from the most slender branch the grafted 
scion sends forth its most luxuriant shoots, and the 
sweet-brier, with its four colourless petals, is but 
the forerunner of the huge, sweet-smelling rose. 
Thus, too, have the proudest royal lines sometimes 
had their origin in the hut of a wood-cutter or the 
fisherman’s cabin. 

Engrossed, heart and soul, in his pursuits of sow- 
ing, planting, and gathering, Van Baerle, petted by 
the whole fraternity of tulip-growers in Europe, 
entertained not the least suspicion that there was at 
his very door a pretender whose throne he had 

He went on in his career, and consequently in his 
triumphs ; and in the course of two years he covered 
his beds with such marvellous productions as no 
mortal man following- in the steps of the Creator, 
except perhaps Shakespeare and Rubens, has ever 

The Hatred of a Tulip-Fancier 53 

If the necessity had arisen to find some new repre- 
sentative of a condemned soul omitted by Dante, 
Boxtel, 'during- this time, would have served excellently 
as a model. While Cornelius was weeding, manuring, 
watering his beds ; while, kneeling on the turf-border, 
he analyzed every vein of the flowering tulips, and 
meditated on the modifications which might be 
effected by possible new combinations of colour, 
Boxtel, concealed behind a small sycamore, which he 
had trained at the top of the partition-wall and which 
he made use of as a screen, watched, with his eyes 
starting from their sockets and with foaming mouth, 
every step and every gesture of his ^ \ . and 

whenever he thought he saw him look happy, or 
descried a smile on his lips, or a gleam of content- 
ment in his eyes, he would pour forth such a volley 
of maledictions and furious threats that one could 
hardly conceive how such wrath and envy-laden 
breath could fail to infect the stalks of the poor 
flowers, and sow the seeds of decay and death among 

Before long — such rapid progress does the spirit 
of evil make, when it has once become master of the 
human heart — Boxtel was no longer content with 
wnichir.g Van Baerle. He wanted to see his flowers 
too ; he had the feelings of an artist, and the master- 
piece of a rival engrossed his interest. 

He therefore bought a telescope, which enabled 
him to watch, as accurately as did the owner himself, 
every progressive development of the flower, from the 
moment when in the first year Its pale seed-leaf begins 
to peep from the tcy that when after five years 

it raises on high hs pro-o and graccfu* sialk, upon 
which uncertain shades of colour appear, and flower- 
petals at last unfold and reveal the hidden treasures 
of its calyx. 

How often did the miserable jealous wretch, 
perched on his ladder, perceive in Van Baerle^s beds 
tulips which dazzled him by their beauty and almost 
choked him with their perfection of form and colour ! 

And then, after the first wave of admiration which 

54 The Black Tulip 

he could not resist, he began to be tortured by the 
pangs of envy, by that fever which preys upon the 
heart and changes it into a nest of vipers feeding upon 
one another, — the awful source of unspeakable suffer- 

How many times did Boxtel, in the midst of 
tortux'es which no pen is able fully to describe, feel 
tempted to jump down into the garden during the 
night, to destroy the plants, to tear the bulbs with his 
teeth, and to sacrifice to his wrath the owner himself, 
if he should venture to defend his tulips ! 

But to destroy a tulip was a horrible crime in the 
eyes of a genuine tulip-fancier; as to killing a man, it 
would not have mattered so very much. 

Yet Van Baerle made such progress in the science, 
which he seemed to master instinctively, that Boxtel 
at last was maddened to such a degree as to seriously 
contemplate throwing stones and sticks into the 
flower-beds of his neighbour. But when he reflected 
that the very next morning. Van Baerle, upon dis- 
covering his loss, would lay an information; that it 
would appear that the street was a long way off, and 
that sticks and stones no longer had a way of falling 
from the sky in the seventeenth century as they used 
to do in the time of the Amalekites; and that the 
author of the crime, though it was perpetrated in the 
night, would surely be found out, and that he would 
not only be punished by law, but also dishonoured 
for ever in the eyes of all the tulip-growers of Europe, 
Boxtel whetted his hatred by stratagem, and resolved 
to employ a means which would not compromise 

He considered a long time, and at last found what 
he sought. 

One evening he tied two cats together by their hind- 
legs with a string about six feet in length, and threw 
them from the wall into the midst of that noble, that 
princely, that royal bed, which contained not only 
the Cornelius de Witt,*’ but the “ Brabanponne ” 
as well, — milk-white, and purple and pink ; the 
“ Marbr^e de Rotre,” — ^flax-coloured, with brilliant 

The Hatred of a Tulip-Fancier 55 

red and incarnadine streaks ; the ‘ ‘ Merveille de 
Harlem/’ the “ Colombin Obscur,” and the 

Colombin Clair Terni,” 

The terrified animals, falling violently from the top 
of the wall, rushed across the bed, each in a different 
direction, until the string by which they were tied to- 
gether was stretched taut; then however, finding that 
they could go no farther, they tore back and forth 
with hideous miaouing, mowing down with their 
string the flowers among which they were disporting 
themselves, until, after a furious strife of about a 
quarter of an hour, they succeeded in breaking the 
string which bound them together, and vanished. 

Boxtel, hidden behind his sycamore, could not see 
anything on account of the darkness ; but the piercing 
cries of the cals told the whole tale, and his heart, 
overflowing with gall, was now throbbing with tri- 
umphant joy. 

Boxtel was so eager to ascertain the extent of the 
injury, that he remained at his post until morning, to 
feast his eyes upon the sorry plight in which the two 
cats had left his neighbour’s flower-beds. The mists 
of the morning chilled his frame, but he did not feel 
the cold, the hope of revenge keeping his blood at 
fever heat. The chagrin of his rival was to pay for 
all the inconvenience which he incurred himself. 

With the first rays of the sun the door of the white 
house opened, and Van Baerle made his appearance, 
appro the flower-beds with the smile of a man 

who has passed the night comfortably in his bed, and 
has had happy dreams. 

All at once he perceived furrows and little mounds 
of earth on the beds, which only the evening before 
had been as smooth as a mirror; all at once he per- 
ceived that his symmetrical rows of tulips were in 
complete disorder, like the ranks of a battalion in the 
midst of which a shell has fallen. 

He ran up to them with blanched cheek. 

Boxtel trembled with joy. Fifteen or twenty 
tulips, torn and crushed, were lying about, some o£ 
them bent, others completely broken and already 

56 The Black Tulip 

withering; the sap was oozing from their wounds. 
How gladly would Van Baerle have redeemed that 
precious sap with his own blood ! 

But, oh ! the surprise, oh, the delight of Van 
Baerle ! and, oh, the unspeakable disappointment of 
Boxtel ! Not one of the four tulips which the latter 
had meant to destroy was injured at all. They raised 
proudly their noble heads above the corpses of their 
slain companions. This was enough to console Van 
Baerle, and enough to make the assassin burst with 
rage ; and he tore his hair at the sight of the effects 
of the crime which he had committed, but committed 
in vain. 

Van Baerle, while deploring the misfortune which 
had befallen him, but which, by the goodness of God, 
was of far less consequence than it might have been, 
was utterly at a loss to account for it. On making 
inquiries, he learned that there had been a terrible 
amount of noise all night. He found traces of the 
cats, too, in their footmarks, and hair left behind on 
the battle-field ; and to guard against a similar out* 
rage in future, he gave orders that henceforth one of 
the under-gardeners should sleep in the garden, in a 
box near the flower-beds. 

Boxtel heard him give the order, and saw the box 
put up that very day; and deeming himself lucky in 
not having been suspected, but more than ever in- 
censed against the successful horticulturist, he 
awaited a more favourable opportunity. 

About this time, the Tulip Society of Harlem 
offered a prize for the discovery (we dare not say the 
manufacture) of a large black tulip without a spot of 
colour, a problem which had never been solved, and 
was considered insoluble ; for at that time there was 
no variety of the tulip species of so dark a shade as 
bistre even. It was, therefore, generally said that 
the founders of the prize might just as well have 
offered two^ millions as a hundred thousand livres, 
since the thing was impossible. 

The tulip-growing world was none the less excited 
from centre to circumference. Some fanciers caught 

The Hatred of a Tulip-Fancier 57 

at the idea without believing it practicable ; but such 
is the power of imagination among florists, that al- 
though considering the undertaking as certain to 
fail, all their thoughts were engrossed by the wonder- 
ful black tulip, which was supposed to be as 
chimerical as the black swan of Horace or the white 
blackbird of French tradition. 

Van Baerle was one of the tulip-growers who con- 
ceived the idea of trying for the prize, while Boxtel 
was of the number who looked upon it only as a 
chimaera. Van Baerle, as soon as the idea had once 
taken root in his clear and ingenious mind, began 
slowly the planting and cross-breeding necessary to 
change the tulips which he had grown already hvm 
red to brown, and from brown to dark brown. 

By the next year he had obtained flowers of a 
perfect bistre, and Boxtel espied them in the bed, 
whereas he had himself as yet only succeeded in pro- 
ducing the light brown. 

It might perhaps be interesting to explain to the 
gentle reader the beautiful chain of theories which 
go to prove that the tulip borrows its colours from the 
elements ,* perhaps we should give him pleasure if we 
were to maintain and establish that nothing is impos- 
sible for a florist who avails himself with judgment 
and discretion and patience of the sun’s heat, the 
clear water, the juices of the earth, and the cool 
breezes. But this is not a treatise upon tulips in 
general ; it Is the story of one particular tulip which 
we have undertaken to write, and to that we limit 
ourselves, however alluring the subject which is so 
closely allied to ours. 

Boxtel, once more worsted by the superiority of his 
hated rival, was now completely disgusted with 
tulip-growing, and being half mad with jealousy 
devoted himself entirely to spying. 

The house of his rival was quite open to view, 
— a. garden exposed to the sun, cabinets with 
transparent glass walls, shelves, cupboards, boxes, 
and ticketed pigeon-holes, which could easily be sur- 
veyed by the telescope. Boxtel allowed his bulbs to 

58 The Black Tulip 

rot in the pits, his seedlings to dry up in their cases, 
and his tulips to wither in the beds; and hence- 
forward concentrating all his energy in liis eyesight, 
occupied himself with nothing else but the doings at 
Van Baerle's; he breathed through the stalks of 
Van Baerle^s tulips, quenched his thirst with the 
water he sprinkled upon them, and feasted upon the 
fine, soft earth which his neighbour scattered upon 
his cherished bulbs. 

But the most curious part of the operations was 
not performed in the garden* 

At one o’clock in the morning Van B aerie would 
go up to his laboratory, into the glazed cabinet 
whither BoxteVs telescope had such easy access ; and 
here, as soon as the lamp illuminated the walls and 
windows, Boxtel would behold the inventive genius 
of his rival at work. 

He beheld him sorting his seeds, and soaking 
them in liquids which were designed to modify or to 
deepen their colours. He could imagine what was 
going on when he saw Cornelius heating certain 
grains, then moistening them, then combining them 
with others by a sort of grafting, — a minute and 
marvellously delicate manipulation, — and when he 
shut up in darkness those which were expected to 
furnish the black colour, exposed to the sun or to the 
lamp those which were to produce red, and to the 
endless reflection of two water-mirrors those in- 
tended to be white, and to represent the liquid 
element in all its purity. 

This innocent magic, the fruit of childlike musings 
and of manly genius combined; this patient untiring 
labour, of which Boxtel knew himself to be incap- 
able, made him, gnawed as he was with envy, centre 
all his life, all his thoughts, and all his hopes in his 

For, strange to say, his own love for and interest 
in the art of horticulture had not extinguished in 
Isaac his fierce envy and thirst for revenge. Some- 
times, while his telescope was fastened upon Van 
Baerle, he would have an idea that he was taking 

Acquaintance with Misfortune 59 

aim at him with a musket that never missed; and 
then he would feel with his finger for the trigger to 
fire the shot which should strike him down. But it 
is time that we should show the connection between 
the labours of the one and the o-oV' ‘‘rpc of the other 
and the visit which Cornelius \ ^ iii paid to his 
native town. 



Cornelius de Witt, having attended to his 
family affairs, reached the house of his godson, 
Cornelius Van Baerle, just at nightfall in the month 
of January, 1672. 

De Witt, although he was himself very little of a 
horticulturist or of an artist, went over the whole 
establishment from the studio to the greenhouse, in- 
specting everything from the pictures down to the 
tulips. He thanked his godson for having joined 
him on the deck of the Admiral’s ship, ‘‘The 
Seven Provinces,” during the battle of Southwold 
Bay, and for having given his name to a magnificent 
tulip, — and all this with the kindness and affability of 
a father to a son ; and while he thus inspected Van 
Baerle’s treasures, a crowd gathered before the door 
of the happy man, drawn thither by curiosity, but 
respectful in their demeanour. 

All this hubbub excited the attention of Boxtel, 
who was just takmg his evening meal by his fireside. 
He inquired what it meant, and on being informed of 
the cause of all the stir, climbed up to his post of 
observation, where in spite of the cold he took his 
stand, with the telescope at his eye. 

This telescope had not been of great service to him 
since the autumn of 1671. The tulips, like true 
daughters of the east averse to cold, will not live in 

6o The Black Tulip 

the open gfround in winter. They need the shelter of 
the house, the soft bed on the shelves, and the con- 
g'enial warmth of the stove. Van Baerle, therefore, 
passed the whole winter in his laboratory in the midst 
of his books and pictures. He went only rarely to 
the room where he kept his bulbs, unless it were to 
admit now and then the sun's rays, which he would 
surprise in their descent, and compel to enter, willy- 
nilly, by opening one of the movable sashes of the 
glass front. 

On the evening of which we are speaking, after the 
two Corneliuses had visited together all the apart- 
ments of the house, followed by a few servants, De 
Witt said in a low voice to Van Baerle, — 

‘‘ My dear son, send these people away, and let us 
be alone for a while. ” 

The younger man, bowing assent, said aloud, — 

“ Do you care to see my tulips’ drying-room. 

The drying-room ! The pantheon of the tulip-cult, 
the tabernacle, the holy of holies, was like Delphi of 
old interdicted to the profane uninitiated. 

Never valet had set his audacious foot within those 
sacred precincts, as the great Racine would say. 
Cornelius admitted only the inoffensive broom of an 
old Frisian housekeeper, who had been his nurse,* 
and who, from the time when he had devoted himself 
to the culture of tulips, ventured no longer to put 
onions in his stews, for fear that she might by 
mistake pluck and serve up one of her foster-child’s 

At the mere mention of the drying-roojn, there- 
fore, the servants, who were carrying the lights, 
respectfully fell back. Cornelius, taking the candle- 
stick from the hands of the foremost, conducted his 
godfather into the room in question. 

Let us here add that the diy:ng-room was that 
very cabinet with a glass front into which Boxtel was 
continually prying with his telescope. 

The envious spy was watching more intently than 

Acquaintance with Misfortune 6i 

First of all he saw the windows lighted up. 

Then two dark figures appeared. 

One of them tall, majestic, stern, sat down near 
the table on which Van Baerle had placed the taper. 

In this figure, Boxtel recognized the pale features 
of Cornelius de Witt, whose long hair, parted in 
front, fell over his shoulders. 

The Ruart de Pulten, after having said some few 
words to Cornelius, whose purport 'the prying neigh- 
hour could not read in the movement of his lips, took 
from his breast and handed him a white parcel, care- 
fully sealed, which Boxtel, judging from the manner 
in which Cornelius received it and placed it in one of 
the presses, supposed to contain papers of the 
greatest importance. 

His first thought was that this precious deposit 
inclosed some newly-imported bulbs from Bengal or 
Ceylon; but he soon reflected that Cornelius de Witt 
was very little addicted to tulip-growing, and that he 
only occupied himself with man, — a plant much less 
agreeable to look upon and vastly more difficult to 
cultivate with success. He therefore came to the 
conclusion that the parcel contained simply some 
papers, and that these papers related to politics. 

But why should papers relating to politics be 
intrusted to Van Baerle, who not only was, but even 
boasted of being, an entire stranger to that science, 
which in his opinion was more occult than chemistry, 
or even alchemy itself? 

It was undoubtedly an important parcel which Cor- 
nelius de Witt, already threatened by the unpopu- 
larity with which his countrymen were beginning to 
honour him, was placing in the hands of his godson, 
— a contrivance so much the more cleverly devised 
on the part of the Ruart, as it certainly was not at all 
likely that it would be sought in the house of one 
who had always stood aloof from every sort of 

And, besides, if the parcel had been made up of 
bulbs, Boxtel knew his neighbour too well not to be 
sure that Van Baerle would not have lost one 

62 The Black Tulip 

moment in satisfying his curiosity and feasting his 
eyes on the present which he had received. 

But, on the contrary, Cornelius had received the 
parcel from the hands of ‘his godfather with every 
mark of respect, and put it by with the same respect- 
ful manner in a drawer, placing it far back, partly, 
no doubt, so that it might not readily be seen, and 
partly so that it should not take up too much of the 
room which was reserved for his bulbs. 

The parcel being thus secreted, Cornelius de Witt 
got up, pressed the hand of his godson, and turned 
toward the door. 

Van Baerle seized the candlestick, and left the 
room first, so as to light his godfather more satis- 

Thereupon the light gradually left the cabinet, and 
re-appeared on the staircase, then in the porch, and 
finally in the street, where there was still a great 
crowd of people waiting to see the Ruart enter his 

The envious fellow was not mistaken in his sup- 
position. The parcel entrusted to Van Baerle and 
carefully locked up by him was nothing more nor less 
than John de Witt’s correspondence with the Marquis 
de Louvois. The deposit was made, however, by 
Cornelius, as he told his brother, without giving to 
his godson the least intimation concerning the politi- 
cal importance of the secret. He merely desired 
him not to deliver the parcel to any one but to him- 
self, or to whomsoever he should send to claim it in 
his name. 

And Van Baerle, as we have seen, locked it up 
with his most precious bulbs. 

Then the Ruart took his leave, the bustle ceased, 
and the lights went out; and our good man thought 
no more of the parcel, while Boxtel, on the other 
hand, thought much about it, and looked upon it as 
a clever pilot does on the distant and scarcely per- 
ceptible cloud which grows larger as it approaches 
and threatens a storm. 

And now here are all the branches of our tale 

Acquaintance with Misfortune 63 

planted in that rich tract of country which stretches 
from Dort to the Hague. Let him follow them who 
will, in the chapters which follow ; we have kept our 
word, and have demonstrated that neither John nor 
Cornelius de Witt had at that time in all Holland 
so relentless a foe as Van Baerle had at his own door 
in Dort in the person of Isaac Boxtel. 

Meanwhile, happy in his ignorance, Van Baerle 
had proceeded step by step toward the goal sug- 
gested by the Horticultural Society of Harlem. He 
had progressed from bistre to the colour of roasted 
coffee; and on the very day when the frightful 
events took place at the Hague, which we have 
related in the preceding chapters, we find him about 
one o’clock in the day gathering from the beds the 
still unfruitful bulbs raised from the seed of tulips 
of the colour of roasted coffee, which, being ex- 
pected to flower for the first time in the spring of 
1673, would undoubtedly produce the large black 
tulip required by the Harlem Society, 

On the 20th of August, 1672, at one o’clock, Cor- 
nelius was, therefore, in his drying-room, with his 
feet resting on the foot-bar of the table and his 
elbows on the cover, gazing with intense delight on 
three bulbs which he had just detached from the 
mother bulb, pure, perfect, and entire, the priceless 
germs of one of the most marvellous productions 
of nature and science, whose united efforts, if 
crowned with success, would render the name of 
Cornelius van Baerle for ever illustrious. 

“I shall find the b*lack tulip,” said Cornelius to 
himself, as he detached the bulbs. ‘‘ I shall obtain 
the hundred thousand florins offered by the Society. 

I will distribute them among the poor of Dort; and 
thus the hatred which every rich man has to en- 
counter in times of civil commotion will be allayed, 
and I shall he able, without fearing any harm from 
either Republicans or Orangists, to keep as hereto- 
fore my beds in splendid condition. I need no more 
be afraid lest when a riot is in progress, the shop- 
keepers of the town and the sailors of the port should 

64 The Black Tulip 

come and root up my bulbs, to boil them as onions 
for their families, as they have sometimes quietly 
threatened to do when they happened to remember 
my having: paid two or three hundred florins for one 
bulb. It is therefore settled that I shall give the 
hundred thousand florins of the Harlem prize to the 
poor. And yet 

Here Cornelius paused, and heaved a sigh. 

“ And yet,’" he continued, “ it would have been so 
very delightful to spend the hundred thousand florins 
on the "( m of my tulip-bed, or even on a 

journey to the East, the country of beautiful flowers I 
But, alas ! these are no thoughts for the present 
times, when muskets, standards, proclamations, and 
beating of drums are the order of the day.” 

Van Baerle raised his eyes to heaven, and sighed 
again. Then, glancing toward his bulbs, — objects 
of much greater importance to him than all those 
muskets, standards, drums, and proclamations which 
in his mind were invented for no other purpose than 
to disturb the repose of honest people, — ^he said — 

'‘These are, indeed, beautiful bulbs; how smooth 
they are, how well formed I There is that air of 
melancholy about them which promises to produce a 
flower of the colour of ebony. On their skin one 
cannot even distinguish the veins with the naked 
eye. It is almost sure that not a spot will disfigure 
the mourning robe of the flower which will owe its 
existence to me. 

“ By what name shall we call this offspring of my 
sleepless nights, of my labour and my thought? 
Tulip a nigra Barlcensis. 

“Yes, Barlcensis; a fine name. All the tulip- 
fanciers — that is to say all the intelligent people of 
Europe — -will feel a thrill of excitement when the 
report flies upon the wings of the wind to the four 
quarters of the globe, — 

“ The great black tulip is found! ‘How is it 
called?’ the fanciers will ask. — ‘ Tulipa nigra Bar- 
isensis P — ‘Why Barlcensis ?^ — ‘After its grower, 
Van Baerle,’ will be the answer. ‘ And who is this 

Acquaintance with Misfortune 65 

Van Baerle?’ — * He is the same man who has 
already produced five new tulips : The Jane, the John 
de Witt, the Cornelius de Witt, etc. ’ Well, that is 
my ambition. It will cause no one to shed a tear. 
And people will still talk of my Tulipa nigra 
Barlaensis, when, perhaps, my godfather, the illustri- 
ous politician, will be known only from the tulip to 
which I have given his name. 

Oh, these lovely bulbs ! 

When my tulip has flowered,’^ Cornelius con- 
tinued, “ and when tranquillity is restored in 
Holland, I shall give to the poor only fifty thousand 
florins, which after all is a goodly sum for a man 
who is under no obligation whatever. Then with 
the remaining fifty thousand florins I shall make 
experiments. With them I mean to succeed in 
imparting scent to the tulip. Ah, if I should succeed 
in giving it the odour of the rose or the carnation, or, 
what would be still better, a completely new scent; 
if I should restore to this queen of flowers her 
natural distinctive perfume, which she has lost in 
passing from her Eastern to her European throne, 
and which she must have in the Indian peninsula at 
Goa, Bombay, and Madras, and especially in that 
island which in olden times, as is asserted, was the 
terrestrial paradise, and which is called Ceylon — oh, 
what glory I In that event, I declare I would rather 
be Cornelius van Baerle than Alexander, Csesar, or 

** Oh, these adorable bulbs !” 

Thus Cornelius indulged in the delights of con- 
templation, and lost himself in sweetest dreams. 

Suddenly the bell of his cabinet was rung much 
more violently than usual. 

Cornelius, startled, laid his hands on his bulbs, 
and turned round. 

“ Who is there?” he asked. 

** Mynheer,” answered the servant, “it is a mes- 
senger from the Hague.” 

“ A messenger from the Hague! What does he 


66 The Black Tulip 

It is Craeke, Mynheer.’’ 

** Craeke ! the confidential servant of Mynheer 
John de Witt? Very well, let him wait.” 

“ I cannot wait,” said a voice in the hall. 

As he spoke, and disreg-arding orders, Craeke 
rushed into the dr\ inof-room. 

This almost forcible entrance was such an 
infring-ement on the established rules of the house- 
hold of Cornelius van Baerle that the latter, as he 
saw Craeke come headlong into the room, con- 
vulsively moved his hand which covered the bulbs, 
so that two of them fell on the floor, one of them 
rolling under a small table, and the other into the 

The devil !” said Cornelius, eagerly stooping to 
recover his priceless treasure; ‘‘what’s the matter, 

“The matter. Mynheer,” said Craeke, laying a 
paper on the large table, on which the third bulb 
was lying, “ the matter is that you are requested 
to read this paper without losing one moment. ” 

And Craeke, who thought he had remarked in the 
streets of Dort symptoms of a tumult similar to that 
which he had witnessed before his departure from 
the Hague, ran off without even looking behind him. 

“ All right, all right, my dear Craeke !” said Cor- 
nelius, stretching his arm under the table for the 
bulb; “ your paper shall be read, indeed it shall.” 

Then, examining the bulb which he held in the 
hollow of his hand, he said, “ Good ! here is one of 
them uninjured. Thait confounded Craeke ! To 
rush into my drying-room in that way ! Let us now 
look after the other.” 

And without laying down the bulb which he 
already held, Baerle went to the fire-place, knelt 
down, and stirred with the tip of his finger the 
ashes, which fortunately were quite cold. 

He at once felt the other bulb, 

“Well, here it is,” he said. And looking at it 
with almost fatherly affection, he exclaimed, 
“ Uninjured, like the other!” 

Acquaintance with Misfortune 67 

^ And this very instant, and while Cornelius, still on 
his knees, was examining the second bulb, the door 
of the drying-room was so violently shaken, and 
opened so unceremoniously immediately after, that 
Cornelius felt rising in his cheeks and his ears the 
glow of that evil counsellor which is called wrath. 

“What is it now?’’ he demanded; “are people 
going mad in this house?” 

“Oh, Mynheer! Mynheer!” cried the servant, 
rushing into the drying-room, with a much paler 
face and much more "-’grieved mien than Craeke 
had shown. 

“Well!” asked Cornelius, foreboding some cata- 
strophe from this double breach of all rules. 

“Oh, Mynheer, fly! fly quickly!” cried the 

“ Fly I what for?” 

“ Ah, Mynheer! the house is full of guards of the 
States, ’ ’ 

“ What do they want?” 

“ They want you.” 

“What for?” 

“To arrest you.” 

“ Arrest me ! arrest me, do you say?” 

“ Yes, Mynheer, and they are led by a magis- 
trate. ” 

“ "What’s the meaning of all this?” said Van 
Baerle, grasping in his hands the two bulbs, and 
glrrci-'g in terror toward the staircase. 

“ Tiicy are coming up! they are coming up!” 
cried the servant. 

“Oh, my dear child, my worthy master!” cried 
the old nurse, who now likewise made her appear- 
ance in the dr}dng-room, “ take your gold, your 
jewelry, and fly, fly!” 

“ But how shall I make my escape, nurse?” said 
Van Baerle. 

“ Jump out of the -window.” 

“ Twenty-five feet from the ground?” 

“ But you will fall on six feet of soft soil.” 

“Yes, but I should fall on my tulips.’ 

“ Never mind, jump out !” 

68 The Black Tulip 

Cornelius took the third bulb, approached the 
window, and opened it; but seeing- what havoc he 
would necessarily cause in his beds rather than what 
a heig-ht he would have to jump, he called out, 
“ Never and fell back a step. 

At this moment they saw through the banisters 
of the staircase the points of the halberds of the 

The housekeeper raised her hands supplicatingly 
to heaven. 

As to Cornelius van Baerle, it must be stated to 
his honour, not as a man but as a tulip-fancier, that 
his only thought was for his priceless bulbs. 

Looking about for a paper in which to wrap them 
up, he noticed the fly-leaf from the Bible, which 
Craeke had laid upon the table, took it, without in 
his confusion remembering whence it came, folded in 
it the three bulbs, secreted them in his bosom, and 

Forthwith soldiers, preceded by a magistrate, 
entered the room. 

Are you Dr. Cornelius van Baerle?’’ demanded 
the rnagistrate (who, although knowing the young 
man very well, put his questions according to the 
forms of law, which gave his proceedings a much 
more dignified air). 

I am he, Master van Spennen,” answered Cor- 
nelius, politely bowing to his judge, “ and you know 
it very well. ” 

“ Then give up to us the seditious papers which 
you are secreting in your house.” 

The seditious papers!” repeated Cornelius, 
quite dumfounded at the imputation. 

“ Oh, don’t pretend to be astonished !” 

“ I swear, Master van Spennen,” Cornelius replied, 
‘‘ that I am completely at a loss to understand what 
you mean.” 

Then I will put you on the right track, Doctor,” 
said the judge; “ give up to us the papers which the 
traitor Cornelius de Witt left with you in the month 
of January last 

A sudden light came into the mind of Cornelius. 

Acquaintance with Misfortune 69 

said Van Spennen, ‘‘you begin now to 
rememberj do you not?’* 

“ Indeed I do; but you spoke of seditious papers, 
and I have none of that sort.’" 

“You deny it, then?” 

“ Certainly I do.” 

The magistrate turned so as to take a rapid survey 
of the whole cabinet. 

“ Where is the apartment you call your drying- 
room?” he asked. 

“ The very same where you now are, Master van 

The magistrate cast a glance at a small note at the 
top of his papers. 

“ All right,” he said, like a man who is sure of his 

Then, turning round toward Cornelius, he con- 
tinued, “ Will you give up those papers to me?” 

“But I cannot, Master van Spennen; those 
papers do not belong to me; they were deposited 
with me in trust, and a trust is sacred.” 

“ Doctor Cornelius,” said the judge, “ in the 
name of the States I order you to open this drawer 
and to give up to me the papers w^-hich it contains.” 

Saying this, the judge pointed with his finger to 
the third drawer of the press near the fire-place. 

In this very drawer, indeed, the papers deposited 
by the Ruart de Pulten with his godson were lying, 
— a proof that the police had received very exact 

“Ah, you will not !” said Van Spennen, when he 
saw Cornelius standing immovable and bewildered ; 
“ then I shall open the drawer myself.” 

And pulling out the drawer to its full length, the 
magistrate at first alighted on about twenty bulbs, 
carefully arranged and ticketed, and then on the 
paper parcel, which was in exactly the same state as 
when it was delivered by the unfortunate Cornelius 
de Witt to his godson. 

The magistrate broke the seals, tore off the 
envelope, cast an eager glance on the first leaves 

70 The Black Tulip 

which met his eye, and then exclaimed with a terrible 
voice, — 

‘'Well, justice has been rightly informed after 

“ How,*’ said Cornelius, ‘‘how is this?” 

“ Make no further pretence of ignorance, Mynheer 
van Baerle,” answered the magistrate, “ but follow 

“ What ! follow you?” cried the Doctor. 

“ Yes, for in the name of the States I arrest you.” 

Arrests were not as yet made in the name of 
William of Orange ; he had not been Stadtholder long 
enough for that. 

“Arrest me!” cried Cornelius, “what have I 
done, pray?” 

“That’s no affair of mine, Doctor; you will 
explain ail that before your judges.” 

“ Where?” 

“ At the Hague.” 

Cornelius, in mute stupefaction, embraced his old 
nurse, who was in a swoon; shook hands with his 
weeping servants, and followed the magistrate, by 
whom he was put into a coach as a prisoner of State, 
and was then driven at full speed to the Hague. 



The incident just related was, as the reader has 
guessed before this, the infernal work of Mynheer 
Isaac Boxtel, 

It will be remembered that with the help of his 
telescope not even the least detail of the private 
meeting between Cornelius de Witt and Van Baerle 
had escaped him ; that he had indeed heard nothing, 
but had seen everything; and that he had rightly 
concluded that the papers intrusted by the Ruart to 
the Doctor must be of great importance, as he saw 

An Invasion 7^ 

Van Baerle so carefully secretingf the parcel in the 
drawer where he kept his most precious bulbs. 

The upshot of all this was, that when Boxtel — 
who watched the course of political events much 
more attentively than did his neighbour Cornelius — 
heard that the brothers De W'itt had been arrested on 
a charge of high treason against the States, he 
thought to himself that very likely he need only say 
one word to cause the arrest of the godson as well 
as the godfather. 

Yet, happy as Boxtel was at the opportunity, he 
at first shrank with horror from the idea of informing 
against a man whom this information might lead to 
the scaffold. 

But the most terrible thing about wicked thoughts 
is that evil minds soon grow familiar with them. 

Moreover, Mynheer Isaac Boxtel encouraged him- 
self with the following sophism, — 

“ Cornelius de Witt must be a bad citizen, since 
he is charged with high treason and arrested. 

I, on the contrary, am a good citizen, since I am 
not charged with anything in the world, and am as 
free as the air of heaven. 

** If, therefore, Cornelius de Witt is a bad citizen, 
— of which there can be no doubt, since he is charged 
with high treason and arrested, — ^his accomplice, 
Cornelius van Baerle, must be no less a bad citizen 
than himself. 

‘‘ Therefore, since I am a good citizen, and since 
it is the duty of every good citizen to inform against 
the bad ones, it is my duty to inform against Cor- 
nelius van Baerle.’’ 

Specious as this mode of reasoning was, it would 
not perhaps have taken so complete a hold of Boxtel, 
nor perhaps would the envious rascal have yielded to 
the mere desire of vengeance which was gnaw I:. g at 
his heart, had not the demon of envy been urged on 
by the spur of cupidity. 

Boxtel was quite aware of the progress which Van 
Baerle had made toward producing the great black 

72 The Black Tulip 

Dr. Cornelius, notwithstanding- all his modesty, 
had not been able to hide from his most intimate 
friends that he was all but certain to win, in the year 
of grace 1673, the prize of a hundred thousand florins 
offered by the Horticultural Society of Harlem. 

It was just this almost certainty of Cornelius van 
Baerle which caused the fever that raged in the heart 
of Isaac BoxteL 

If Cornelius should be arrested, there would neces- 
sarily be great confusion in his house; and during 
the night after his arrest, no one would think of 
keeping watch over the tulips in his garden. 

Now, during that night, Boxtel might climb over 
the wall, and as he knew the location of the bulb 
which was to produce the great black tulip, he would 
filch it; and instead of flowering in Cornelius’s 
garden, it would flower in his, Isaac’s. He also, 
instead of Van Baerle, would win the prize of a 
hundred thousand florins, not to speak of the 
supreme honour of calling the new jfiower Tulipa 
nigra Boxtellensis , — a result which would satisfy not 
only his vengeance, but his cupidity as well. 

Awake, he thought of nothing but the great black 
tulip ; asleep, he dreamed of it. 

At last, on the 19th of August, about two o^clock 
in the afternoon, the temptation grew so strong that 
Mynheer Isaac was no longer able to resist it. 

Accordingly, he wrote an anonymous denunciation, 
the minute exactness of which made up for its want 
of authenticity, and put it in the post. 

Never did a venomous paper, slipped into the jaws 
of the bronze lions at Venice, produce a more prompt 
and more terrible effect. 

On the same evening the letter reached the prin- 
cipal magistrate, who, without a moment’s delay, 
called his ’C" to assemble the next morning. 

On the following morning, therefore, they assembled, 
and decided on Van Baerle ’s arrest, placing the order 
for its execution in the hands of Master van Spennen, 
who, as we have seen, performed his duty like a true 
Hollander, and arrested the doctor at the very 

An Invasion 73 

moment when the Orange party at the Hague were 
roasting the bleeding shreds of flesh torn from the 
corpses of Cornelius and John de Witt. 

But whether from a feeling of shame, or from 
being still unused to crime, Isaac Boxtel did not 
venture that day to point his telescope either at 
the garden or at the laboratory or at the drying- 

He knew too well what was about to happen in 
the home of the poor doctor to have any need to look 
on. He did not even get up when his only servant 
— who envied the lot of the servants of Cornelius just 
as bitterly as Boxtel did that of their master — entered 
his bedroom. He said to the man, — 

^ ‘ I shall not get up to-day ; I am ill. ’ ' 

About nine o’clock he heard a great noise in the 
street, which made him tremble ; at this moment he 
was paler than a real invalid, and shook more 
violently than a man in the height of fever. 

His servant entered the room; Boxtel hid himself 
under the counterpane. 

‘‘Oh, Mynheer!” cried the servant, not without 
some suspicion that, while deploring the mishap which 
had befallen Van Baerle, he was announcing agree- 
able news to his master, “ oh, you do not know then 
what is happening at this moment?” 

“ How do you suppose I am to know it?” answered 
Boxtel, with an almost inaudible voice. 

“ Well, Mynheer Boxtel, at this moment your 
neighbour Cornelius van Baerle is being arrested for 
high treason.” 

“Nonsense!” Boxtel muttered, with a faltering 
voice, “ the thing is impossible !” 

“ Faith, sir, at any rate that’s what people say; 
and, besides, I saw Judge van Spennen with the 
archers entering the house.” 

“ Ah, if you saw it with your own eyes that’s a 
different matter rhc 

“ At all events,” said the servant, ** I will go and 
inquire once more. Never fear, Mynheer, I will 
keep you posted.” 

<74 The Black Tulip 

Boxtel contented himself with e the 

zeal of his servant with a gesture. 

The man went out, and returned in half-an-hour. 

Oh, Mynheer, all that I told you is indeed quite 
true. ” 

“ How so?’’ 

Mynheer van Baerle is arrested, and has been 
put into a carriage, and hurried off to the Hague !” 

“ To the Hague?” 

*‘yes, to the Hague; and if what people say is 
true, it won’t do him much good.” 

“ And what do they say?” Boxtel asked. 

“ Faith! they say — but it is not quite sure — that 
by this hour the bur^^hers are probably murdering 
Mynheer Cornelius and Mynheer John de Witt.” 

“ Oh !” muttered Boxtel, with a noise in his throat 
like a death-rattle, closing his eyes to shut out the 
dreadful picture which presented itself to his imagin- 

The devil 1” said the servant to himself, leaving 
the room, “ Mynheer Isaac Boxtel must be very sick 
not to have jumped out of bed on hearing such good 

In reality, Isaac Boxtel was very sick, with a sick- 
ness like that of a man who has murdered another. 

But he had murdered his man with a double object ; 
the first was attained, the second was still to be 

Night closed in. It was night which Boxtel had 
been waiting for. 

As soon as it was dark he got up. 

He then climbed into his sycamore. 

He had judged rightly. No one thought of keep- 
ing- watch over the garden ; the house and the 
servants were in the utmost confusion. 

He heard the clock strike ten, eleven, twelve. 

At midnight, with a beating heart, trembling 
hands, and a livid countenance, he descended from 
the tree, took a ladder, leaned it against the wall, 
mounted it to the last step but one, and listened. 

Ail was perfectly quiet; not a sound broke the 

An Invasion 75 

silence of the nigfht. One solitary light was burn- 
ing in the house; it was in the nurse’s room. 

This silence and this darkness emboldened Boxtel ; 
he got astride the wall, stopped for an instant, and, 
having ascertained that there was nothing to fear, 
he put his ladder from his own garden into that of 
Cornelius, and descended. ^ 

Then, knowing to an inch where the bulbs which 
were to produce the black tulip were planted, he 
ran toward the spot, following, however, the walks 
in order not to be betrayed by his footprints, and on 
arriving at the precise spot, with the eagerness of a 
tiger he plunged his hand into the soft ground. 

He found nothing, and thought he was mistaken. 

Meanwhile the perspiration stood in great beads 
on his brow. 

He felt about close by the spot — nothing. 

He felt about to the right and to the left— nothing. 

He felt about in front and * d i < 

He was nearly mad when at last he could no longer 
doubt that on that very morning the earth had been 

In fact, while Boxtel was lying in bed, Cornelius 
had gone down to his garden, had taken up the 
mother bulb, and, as we have seen, divided it into 

Boxtel could not bring himself to leave the place. 
He dug up with his hands more than ten square feet 
of ground. 

At last no doubt remained of his ill luck. 

Mad with rage, he returned to his ladder, mounted 
the wall, drew up the ladder, flung it into his own 
garden, and jumped after it. 

Ail at once a last ray of hope presented itself to 
his mind : the seedling bulbs might be in the drying- 
room; it was therefore only requisite to make his 
entry there as he had done into the garden. 

There he would find them; and, moreover, it was 
not at all difficult, as the sashes of the drying-room 
might be raised like those of a greenhouse. Cor- 
nelius had opened them that morning, and no one 
had thoug:ht of closing them again. 

76 The Black Tulip 

Everything, therefore, depended upon whether 
Boxtel couM procure a ladder of sufBcient length, — 
one of twenty feet instead of twelve. 

He had noticed in the street where he lived a house 
which was being repaired and against which a very 
tall ladder was placed. 

This ladder would do admirably, unless the work- 
men had taken it aw'ay. 

He ran to the house ; the ladder was there. Boxtel 
took it, carried it with great exertion to his garden, 
and with even greater difficulty raised it against the 
wall of Van Baerle’s house, where it just reached to 
the window. 

Boxtel put a lighted dark lantern into his pocket, 
mounted the ladder, and slipped into the drying- 

On reaching this sanctuary of the florist he 
stopped, supporting himself against the table; his 
legs failed him ; his heart beat as if It would choke 
him. Here it was even worse than in the garden. 
It would seem as if the open air added respectability 
to ^l'ansgress;ons of the right of property ; a man who 
would leap a hedge or climb a wall stops at the door 
or window of a house. 

In the garden Boxtel was only a trespasser; in 
the room he was a thief. 

However, he took courage again : he had not gone 
so far to turn back empty-handed. 

But in vain did he search the whole room, and 
open and shut all the drawers, even that special one 
where the parcel which had been so fatal to Cor- 
nelius had been deposited ; he found ticketed, as in a 
botanical garden, the Jane,’’ the John de Witt,” 
the bistre, and the roasted-coffee-coloured tulip; but 
of the black tulip, or rather of the seedling bulbs 
within which it was still sleeping, not a trace was to 
be found. 

And yet, on looking over the register of seeds and 
bulbs, which Van Baerle kept in duplicate, if possible 
even with greater exactitude and care than the first 
commercial houses of Amsterdam their ledgers, Boxtel 

An Invasion 77 

** On this 2oth of Aug-ust, 1672, I took up the mother bulb 
of the great black tulip, which I have divided into three perfect 
bulbs. ” 

“Oh, those bulbs, those bulbs!’’ howled Boxtei, 
turning* over everything^ in the dryingf-room ; “ where 
can he have concealed them?” 

Then suddenly striking his forehead a violent blow, 
he shrieked, “ Oh, wretch that I am ! oh, thrice fool, 
Boxtel ! Would any one be separated from his 
bulbs? Would he leave them at Dort when he was 
to go to the Hague? Could one live away from 
one’s bulbs, when they are the bulbs of the great 
black tulip? He had time to get hold of them, the 
scoundrel; he has them about him, he has taken 
them to the Hague !” 

It was like a flash of lightning which showed to 
Boxtel the abyss of a useless crime. 

Boxtel sank quite paralyzed on that very table 
and on that very spot where, some hours before, the 
unfortunate Van Baerle had so leisurely and with 
such intense delight contemplated the bulbs of the 
black tulip. 

“ But then, after all,” said the envious Boxtel, 
raising his livid face, “if he has them he can keep 
them only so long as he lives, and ” 

The rest of this detestable thought was expressed 
in a hideous smile. 

“The bulbs must be at the Hague,” he said; 
“therefore I can no longer live at Dort. 

“ To the Hague for the bulbs, then ! to the 

And without taking any notice of the immense 
treasures about him, so entirely were his thoughts 
absorbed by another inestimable treasure, he climbed 
out of the window, glided down the ladder, carried it 
back to the place whence he had taken it, and, like a 
beast of prey, returned growling to his house. 


The Black Tulip 



It was about midnig-ht when poor Van Baerle was 
locked up in the prison of the Buytenhof. 

What Rosa foresaw had come to pass. On find- 
ing the cell of Cornelius de Witt empty, the wrath 
of the people ran very high, and had Gryphus fallen 
into the hands of those madmen, he would certainly 
have had to pay with his life for the prisoner. 

But their wrath had been glutted by the vengeance 
wreaked upon the two brothers when they were over- 
taken by the murderers, thanks to the precaution 
v/hich William — the man of precautions — had taken 
in having the gates of the city closed. 

There had been a moment, therefore, when the 
prison was deserted, and dead silence succeeded the 
frightful yelling and howling which had died away 
in the distance. 

Rosa availed herself of this favourable moment to 
leave her hiding-place, followed by her father. 

The prison was completely deserted, — for why 
remain there while murder was being done at the 

Gryphus came forth trembling behind the courage- 
ous Rosa. They went to close the great door as far 
as they could close it; that is to say, considering 
that it was half demolished. It was easy to see that 
a flood of resistless wrath had vented itself upon it. 

About four o’clock the uproar was heard return- 
ing, but it contained nothing to alarm Gryphus and 
his daughter. It was only the noise made by the 
two dead bodies which the mob were dragging along 
with the purpose of hanging them at the usual place 
of execution. 

Rosa hid herself again, but only that she might 
not see the ghastly spectacle. 

At midnight there was a knocking at the door of 

The Family Cell 79 

the Buytenhof, or rather at the barricade which 
served in its stead. 

It was Cornelius van Baerle who was being* 
brought in. 

When Gryphus received this new inmate, and read 
in the warrant the name and station of his prisoner, 
he muttered with his professional smile, — 

‘‘Godson of Cornelius de Witt! Well, young 
man, we have your family cell here, and you shall 
have it.** 

Ciuickllng over his own joke, the ferocious Orange- 
man took his lantern and his keys to conduct Cor- 
nelius to the cell which on that very morning Cor- 
nelius de Witt had left to go into “ exile,** as exile 
is understood in times of revolution by those sublime 
moralists who lay it down as an axiom of lofty 
policy, — 

“ It is the dead only who do not return. ** 

On his way to that cell the disconsolate florist heard 
nothing but the barking of a dog and saw nothing but 
the face of a young girl. 

The dog rushed forth from a niche in the wall, 
rattling his heavy chain, and took a thorough sniff 
at Cornelius in order that he might be more certain 
to recognize him, in case he should be put upon his 

The young girl, while the prisoner was making the 
stair-rail groan under his heavy hand, half opened 
the door of a chamber occupied by her on the landing 
of the same staircase; and holding the lamp in her 
right hand, she at the same time lit up her pretty 
blooming face, surrounded by a profusion of golden 
locks in thick braids, while with her left she held her 
white night-dress closely over her breasit, having 
been roused from her first slumber by the unexpected' 
arrival of Van Baerle. 

It would have made a fine picture, worthy of 
Master Rembrandt*s pencil, — the gloomy winding 
stairs illuminated by the reddish glare of Gryphus ’s. 
lantern, with his scowding visage at the top; the 
melancholy features of Cornelius bending over the, 

8o The Black Tulip 

banister to look; and below him the sweet face of 
Rosa, against the background of her lighted room, 
and her modest instinctive movement, rendered some- 
what ineffectual perhaps by Cornelius’s advantageous 
position, standing on the stairs above, whence his 
gaze fell tenderly and sadly upon the fair, beautifully- 
moulded shoulders of the damsel. 

And farther down, quite in the shade, where the 
darkness blotted out the details of the picture, were 
the glistening eyes of the mastiff, who was rattling 
his chain, whose links the double light from Rosa’s 
lamp and Gryphus’s lantern made to shine like gold 

* But the sublime master could never have succeeded 
in depicting the sorrow expressed in Rosa’s face 
when she saw this pale, handsome young man slowly 
climbing the stairs, and applied to him the words 
which her father had just spoken, You shall have 
the family cell.^^ 

This vision lasted but a moment, — ^much less time 
than we have taken to describe it. Gryphus then 
proceeded on his way. Cornelius was forced to 
follow him, and five minutes later he entered his cell, 
which it is unnecessary to describe, as the reader is 
already acquainted with it. 

Gryphus pointed with his finger to the bed which 
had witnessed the bitter suffering of the martyr who 
on that very day had gone to meet his Maker. Then 
taking up his lantern he left the cell. 

Thus left alone, Cornelius threw himself on his 
bed, but he could not sleep; he kept his eye fixed on 
the narrow window, barred with iron, which looked 
on the square of the Buytenhof, — and thus he saw, 
above the trees, the first pale ray of dawn fall from 
heaven over the earth like a white mantle. 

Now and then, during the night, horses had 
galloped at a smart pace through the square, the 
heavy tramp of the patrols had resounded on the 
pavement, and the matches of the c'rqiicbnscs, flaring 
in the west wind, had intermittently lighted up his 


The Family Cell 

But when the rising sun began to gild the roofs of 
the houses, Cornelius, eager to know whether there 
was any living creature in his vicinity, approached 
the window and looked gloomily around. 

At the end of the square a dark mass, whose black-* 
ness was hardly relieved by the morning light, rose 
before him, its irregular outlines standing out in con- 
trast to the lighter-hued houses. 

Cornelius recognized the gibbet. 

On it were suspended two shapeless masses, which 
were no more than bleeding trunks. 

The good people of the Hague had chopped off 
great pieces of the flesh of their victims, but faith- 
fully carried the remainder to the gibbet, in order 
to have an excuse for a double inscription, written on 
a huge placard, on which Cornelius, with the keen 
sight of a young man of twenty-eight, was able to 
read the following lines, daubed by the coarse brush 
of a sign-painter : — 

Here hang the great villain named John de Witt, and the 
little rogue Cornelius de Witt, his brother, who were enemies 
of the people, but great friends of the king of France.” 

Cornelius uttered a cry of horror, and in an agony 
of almost delirious terror beat upon his door with 
hands and feet so violently and imperatively that 
Gryplius, with his bunch of huge keys in his hand, 
came running up in a rage. 

He opened the door, with terrible imprecations 
against the prisoner who disturbed him at an houi 
at which he was not in the habit of being disturbed. 

‘‘ Upon my soul, I believe this new De Witt is 
insane,’^ he cried; ** but all those De Witts have the 
devil in them.’’ 

Master, master,” cried Cornelius, seizing the 
jailer by the arm and dragging him toward the 
window, “ master, what’s that I read down there?” 

Where do you mean?” 

“ On that placard. ” 

Trembling, pale, and gasping for breath, he pointed 
to the gibbet, with the cynical inscription surmount- 
ing it, at the farther end of the square. 


82 The Black Tulip 

Gryphus began to laugh* 

“ Ha! ha!*' he retorted, “so you have read it, 
have you? Well, my good sir, that's what people 
get for corresponding with the enemies of his High- 
ness the Prince of Orange.” 

“The brothers De Witt murdered!” Cornelius 
muttered, with beads of sweat on his brow; and he 
sank upon his bed, his arms hanging by his side, and 
his eyes closed. 

“ The brothers De Witt have undergone the 
sentence of the people,” said Gryphus; “you call 
that murdered, do you? Well, I call it executed.” 

And seeing that the prisoner had not only become 
calm, but was apparently quite overcome by the 
discovery he had made, he rushed from the cell, 
violently slamming the door and noisily drawing the 

When he came to himself, Cornelius found himself 
alone, and recognized the fact that the room where 
he was — “the family cell” as Gryphus had called 
it — ^was likely to be but a stopping-place on his 
journey to an ignominious death. 

And as he was a philosopher, and more than that, 
a Christian, he began by praying for the soul of his 
godfather, then for that of the Grand Pensionary, and 
at last submitted with resignation to all the sufferings 
to which God might be pleased to subject him. 

Then turning once more from thoughts of Heaven 
to earthly matters, and having brought his mind back 
into his dungeon and satisfied himself that he was 
alone therein, he drew from his breast the three bulbs 
of the black tulip, and concealed them behind a block 
of stone, on which the traditional water-jug was 
standing, in the darkest corner of his cell. 

Useless labour of so many years ! Such sweet 
hopes crushed ! His great discovery was, after all, 
to lead to nought, just as his own career was to end 
in premature death. Here, in his prison, there was 
not a trace of vegetation, not an atom of soil, not a 
ray of sunshine. 

At this thought Cornelius fell into a gloomy de- 

The Jailer’s Daughter 83 

spair, from which he was roused only by an extra- 
ordinary circumstance. 

What was this circumstance? 

With the reader^s permission, we will reserve that 
information for the following chapter. 


THE jailer's daughter 

ON^the evening of that day, Gryphus, as he was 
bringing the prisoner’s scanty meal, slipped on the 
damp flags in opening the door of the cell, and fell 
in the attempt to recover himself. His hand turned 
the wrong way, and he broke his arm just above the 

Cornelius made a movement to assist him; but 
Gryphus, who was not yet aware of the serious nature 
of his injury, called out to him, — 

^Mt is nothing; don’t you stir!” 

He then tried to support himself on his arm, but 
the bone gave way ; then he felt the pain, and uttered 
a sharp cry. 

He knew that his arm must be broken; and this 
man, so harsh in his treatment of others, fell swoon- 
ing on the threshold, where he remained motionless 
and cold, as if dead. 

During all this time the door of the cell stood open, 
and Cornelius found himself almost free. But the 
thought never entered his mind of profiting by this 
accident. He had seen from the manner in which the 
arm was bent, and from the noise it made in bending, 
that the bone was fractured, and that the patient 
must be in great pain ; and now he thought of nothing 
but administering relief to the sufferer, notwithstand- 
ing the evil disposition the man had shown during 
their short interview. 

At the noise of Gryphus ’s fall, and at the cry which 
escaped him, a hasty step was heard on the staircase. 

84 The Black Tulip 

and at sight of the lovely apparition which fallowed 
the footfall, Cornelius uttered an exclamation which 
was echoed by the shriller tones of a young girl. 

She who thus echoed Cornelius's cry was the 
beautiful young Frisian, who, seeing her father 
stretched on the ground and the prisoner bending 
over him, thought at first that Gryphus, whose 
brutality she well knew, had fallen in a struggle 
between himself and the prisoner. 

Cornelius understood what was passing in the mind 
of the girl as soon as the thought came to her. 

But she saw the true state of the case at a glance, 
and, ashamed of her first thoughts, she raised her 
beautiful eyes, wet with tears, to the young man, 
and said to him, — 

‘‘ I beg your pardon, and thank you, Mynheer, — 
pardon for what I have thought, and thanks for what 
you are doing.” 

Cornelius blushed. 

I am but doing my duty as a Christian,” said he, 
“ in helping my /y/ ’) ‘ .” 

“Yes, and while you help him this evening, you 
forget the abuse which he heaped on you this morn- 
ing. Oh, Mynheer, this is more than human ; it is 
more than Christian !” 

Cornelius cast his eyes on the beautiful maid, 
marvelling much to hear from the mouth of one so 
humbly born such a noble and feeling* speech. 

But he had no time to express his surprise. Gryphus 
recovered from his swoon, opened his eyes, and as his 
accustomed brutality returned with his return to con- 
sciousness, he growled, “That’s it! if one is in a 
hurry to bring a prisoner his supper, and in his hurry 
falls and breaks his arm, he is left lying on the 
ground. ” 

“Hush, father,” said Rosa, “you are unjust to 
this young gentleman, whom I found trying to help 
you. ’ ’ 

“He I” Gryphus rejoined, with a doubtful air. 

“ It is quite true. Mynheer; and I am quite ready 
to help you still more. ” 

The Jailer’s Daughter 85 

You r' said Gryphus, are you a medical man?’’ 

It was formerly my profession.” 

“ So that you would be able to set my arm?” 


What would you need for that purpose?” 

‘‘Two splinters of wood merely, and some linen 
for a bandage.” 

“ Do you hear, Rosa?” said Gryphus, “ the 
prisoner is going to set my arm, that’s a saving. 
Come, help me to get up; I feel as heavy as lead. ” 

Rosa lent the sufferer her shoulder; he put his 
unhurt arm round her neck, and with an effort got on 
his legs, while Cornelius, to save his steps, pushed 
a chair towards him. 

Gryphus sat down; then, turning towards his 
daugiiter, he said, — 

“ Well, didn’t you hear? Go and get what is 

Rosa left the room, and immediately after returned 
with two barrel staves and a large roll of linen. 

Cornelius had made use of the intervening moments 
to take off the man’s coat, and to turn back his shirt- 

“Is this all that you need, Mynheer?” asked Rosa. 

“Yes, my child,” answered Cornelius, looking at 
the things which she had brought; “ yes, that’s right. 
Now, push this table under, while I support your 
father’s arm.” 

Rosa pushed the table, Cornelius placed the broken 
arm on it, in order to have it level, and with perfect 
skill set the bone, adjusted the splinters, and fastened 
the bandages. 

As the last pin was inserted, the jailer fainted a 
second time. 

“ Go and get some vinegar, my dear,” said Cor- 
nelius; “ we will bathe his temples, and he will soon 
come to.” 

But instead of doing as he suggested, Rosa, after 
having assured herself that her father was still un- 
conscious, approached Cornelius and said, — 

“ One good turn deserves another, Mynheer.” 

86 The Black Tulip 

What do you mean, my dear?” asked Cornelius, 

“ I mean to say that the judge who is to examine 
you to-morrow has inquired to-day about the room in 
which you are confined; he was told that you were 
occLirylng the cell of Mynheer Cornelius de Witt, and 
at that reply he laughed in a sinister way, which 
makes me fear that no good fortune awaits you. ” 

But,” asked Cornelius, what harm can they do 
to me?” 

“ Look at that gibbet !” 

But I am not guilty,” said Cornelius. 

“ Were they guilty whom you see down there, — 
hanged and -i'rii-'giccL and torn to pieces?” 

‘‘ That’s true,” said Cornelius, gravely. 

“ xA.nd besides,” continued Rosa, ‘‘public opinion 
has adjudged you guilty. But whether innocent or 
guilty, your trial begins to-morrow, and the day after 
you will be condemned. Matters are settled very 
quickly in these times.” 

“•Well, and what do you conclude from all 

“ I conclude that I am alone, that I am weak, 
that my father is lying in a swoon, that the dog is 
muzzled, and that consequently there is nothing to 
prevent you making your escape. Fly, then, — that is 
my conclusion.” 

“ What do you say?” 

“ I say that I was not able to save Mynheer Cor- 
nelius or Mynheer John de Witt, alas ! and that I 
should like to save you. Only be quick; there, my 
father is regaining his breath. One minute more, 
and he will open his eyes, and it will be too late. Do 
you hesitate?” 

In fact, Cornelius stood immovable, looking at 
Rosa, 3^et looking at her as if he did not hear her. 

“ Don’t you understand me?” said the young girl, 
with some impatience. 

“Yes, I do,” said Cornelius, “ but ” 

“ But what?” ^ 

“ I will not do it; they would accuse you.” 

“ What does that matter?” said Rosa, blushing. 

The Jailer’s Daughter 87 

“ I am very grateful to you, my dear child,’* replied 
Cornelius ; ‘‘ but I prefer to remain.” 

‘‘You prefer to remain! alas, alas! don’t you 
understand that you will be condemned, — condemned 
to death, executed on the scaffold, perhaps assassin- 
ated and torn to pieces, just as Mynheer John and 
Mynheer Cornelius were? For Heaven’s sake don’t 
think of me, but fly from this room ! Take care ! it 
is an ill-omened spot for all who love the name of 

“ Halloa!” cried the jailer, recovering his senses, 
“ who is that talking of those rogues, those wretches, 
those villains, the De Witts?” 

“ Don’t get excited, my good man,” said Cor- 
nelius, with a sweet smile; “ the worst thing in the 
world for a fracture is to allow the blood to get 
heated. ” 

Thereupon, he said in an undertone to Rosa : “ My 
child, I am innocent, and I shall await my trial with 
the tranquillity and calmness befitting an innocent 
man. ” 

“ Hush !” said Rosa. 

“Why hush?” 

“ My father must not suppose that we have been 
talking to each other.” 

“ What harm would that do?” 

“ What harm? He would never allow me to come 
here any more,” was the maiden’s ingenuous reply. 

Cornelius received this naive explanation with a 
smile ; it seemed as if a ray of light were breaking in 
upon his misery. 

“ Now, then, what are you two chattering about 
there?” said Gryphus, rising and supporting his right 
arm with his left hand. 

“ Nothing,” said Rosa; “ Mynheer is explaining to 
me what diet you must adopt.” 

“What diet I must adopt? Diet! diet I Well, 
young woman, I shall put you on diet too.” 

. “ What will mine be, father?” 

‘ ‘ To keep away from the cells of the prisoners ; 
and if ever you should happen to visit them, to leave 

88 The Black Tulip 

again as soon as possible. Come now, go on ahead 
of me, and be quick. 

Rosa and Cornelius exchanged glances. 

That of Rosa seemed to say, — 

There, you see how it is !’^ 

While Cornelius’s look of resignation replied. — 

“ The Lord’s will be done !” 



Rosa was not mistaken; the judges came on the 
following day to the Buytenhof, and interrogated 
Cornelius van Baerle. The examination, however, 
did not last long, for it was easily made to appear 
that Cornelius had kept at his house the fatal corre- 
spondence of the brothers De Witt with France. 

He did not deny it. 

The only point about which the judges seemed to 
have any doubt was whether this correspondence had 
been entrusted to him by his godfather Cornelius de 

But since the death of those two martyrs, Van 
Baerle had no longer any reason for withholding the 
truth; therefore he not only did not deny that the 
parcel had been delivered to him by Cornelius de 
Witt himself, but he also stated all the circumstances 
under which it was done. 

This confession involved the godson in the crime 
of the godfather; for it was argued that there was 
manifest complicity between Cornelius de Witt and 
Cornelius van Baerle. 

The honest doctor did not confine himself to this 
avowal, but told the whole truth with regard to his 
own tastes, habits, and daily life. He told of his 
indifference to politics, his love of study, of the fine 
arts, of science, and of flowers. He declared that 
since the day when Cornelius de Witt came to Dort 

Cornelius Van Baerle’s Will 8g 

and handed him the parcel, he himself had never 
touched or even noticed it. 

To this it was objected that in this respect he could 
not possibly be speaking the truth, since the papers 
had been deposited in a drawer in which he used to 
plunge his hands and his eyes every day. 

Cornelius answered that it was indeed so; but that 
he never put his hand into the drawer save to ascer- 
tain whether his bulbs were dry, and that he never 
looked into it save to see if they were beginning to 

To this again it was obj'ected that his pretended 
indifference respecting this deposit was not to be 
reasonably entertained, as he could not have received 
such papers from the hand of his godfather without 
being made acquainted with their important char- 

He replied that his godfather loved him too well, 
and, above all, that he was too considerate a man, to 
have communicated to him anything of the contents 
of the parcel, well knowing that such a confidence 
would only have caused anxiety to him who received 

To this it was objected that if De Witt had done 
what he alleged, he would have added to the parcel, 
in case of accident, a certificate setting forth that his 
godson was an entire stranger to the nature of this 
correspondence; or at least he would, during his trial, 
have written a letter to him which might serve to 
justify him. 

Cornelius replied that undoubtedly his godfather 
had not thought that his parcel was in any danger, 
hidden as it was in a press which was held in as deep 
veneration as the Ark of the Covenant by the whole 
Van Baerle household; and that, consequently, he 
had considered such a certificate useless. As to a 
letter, he certainly had some remembrance that some 
moments previous to his arrest, while he was 
absorbed in the contemplation of one of the rarest of 
his bulbs, John de Witt’s servant entered his drying- 
room and handed him a paper ; but the whole was to 

90 The Black Tulip 

him only like a vague dream. The servant had dis^ 
appeared, and as to the paper, perhaps it might be 
found, if a proper search were made. 

As far as Craeke was concerned, it was impossible 
to find him, as he had left Holland. 

As to the paper, there was so little probability of 
finding it that no one gave himself the trouble to look 
for it. 

Cornelius himself did not much press this point, 
because even if the paper should turn up, it could not 
have any connection with the correspondence which 
constituted the corpus delicti. 

The judges wished to appear in the light of urging 
Cornelius to make a more vigorous defence than he 
was doing; and so they displayed that benevolent 
patience which is the clist'.rigjisliing mark either of a 
magistrate who is interested for the prisoner, or of a 
victor who has overthrown his adversary, and has so 
completely made himself master that he has no need 
of further severity to complete his destruction. 

Cornelius did not respond to this hypocritical pre- 
tence of impartiality ; and in a last answer, which he 
made with the noble bearing of a martyr and the 
calm serenity of an innocent man, he said, — 

“ You ask me things, gentlemen, to which I have 
no other reply to make than the exact truth. This is 
the exact truth. The parcel was put into my hands 
in the way I have described; I declare, before God, 
that I was, and am still, ignorant of its contents, and 
that it was not until my arrest that I learned that this 
parcel contained the correspondence of the Grand 
Pensionary with the Marquis de Louvois. And lastly, 

I protest that I do not understand how any one should 
have known that this parcel was in my house; and, 
above all, how I can be deemed guilty for having 
received what my illustrious and unfortunate god- 
father brought to me/’ 

This was Van Baerle’s whole defence. The judges 
then began their deliberations. 

They considered that every offshoot of civil dis- 
cord is to be deplored, because it adds fresh fuel 

Cornelius Van Baerle’s Will 91 

to the flame which it is the interest of all to ex- 

One of them (and he bore the character of a pro- 
found observer) maintained that this young man, so 
'-it'c in appearance, might well be a very 
dangerous subject in reality, for beneath his cloak of 
impassibility he was very likely to conceal an ardent 
desire to revenge his friends the De Witts. 

Another observed that the love of tulips was per- 
fectly consistent with politics, and that history demon- 
strates that many very dangerous traitors had been 
engaged in gardening, just as if it had been their 
profession, while really they were intent upon alto- 
gether different matters. Witness Tarquin the Elder, 
who grew poppies at Gabii, and the Great Conde, 
who watered his carnations at the castle of Vincennes, 
at the very moment when the former was meditating 
his return to Rome, and the latter his escape from 

This last speaker concluded with the following 
dilemma : — 

“ Either Cornelius van Baerle is a great lover of 
tulips or a great lover of politics ; in either case he lias 
told us a falsehood, — first, because his taking an 
interest in politics is proved by the letters which were 
found at his house ; and secondly, because his passion 
for tulips is also proved. The bulbs fully establish 
that fact. Finally, and herein lies the enormity of 
the case, since Cornelius van Baerle devotes himself 
to tulips and to politics at one and the same time, he 
must be of a hybrid character, of an amphibious 
organization, working with equal ardour at politics 
and at tulips, — ^which demonstrates the existence in 
him of all the characteristics of the class of men most 
dangerous to public tranquillity, and establishes a 
certain, or rather a complete, analogy between his 
character and that of those master minds, of which 
Tarquin the Elder and the Great Cond6 have been but 
now felicitously quoted as examples/' 

The upshot of all these reasonings was that his 
Highness, the Prince Stadtholder of Holland, would 

92 The Black Tulip 

doubtless feel infinitely obliged to the magistracy of 
the Hague, if they simplified for him the government 
of the Seven Provinces by destroying even the least 
germ of conspiracy against his authority. 

This argument capped all the others ; and in order 
so much the more effectually to destroy the germ of 
conspiracy, sentence of death was unanimously pro- 
nounced against Cornelius van Baerle, accused and 
convicted of having, under the innocent guise of a 
tulip-fancier, participated in the detestable intrigues 
and abominable plots of the brothers De Witt against 
Dutch nationality, and in their secret relations with 
their French enemy. 

The sentence went on to say that the aforesaid 
Cornelius van Baerle shall be led from the prison of 
the Buytenhof to the scaffold in the square of the same 
name, where his head shall be cut off by the public 

As this deliberation was a most serious affair, it 
lasted a full half-hour, during which the prisoner was 
remanded to his cell. 

There the Recorder of the States came to read the 
sentence to him. 

Master Gryphus was detained in bed by the fever 
caused by the fracture of his arm. His keys had 
passed into the hands of one of his assistants. Behind 
this turnkey, who led the way before the Recorder, 
Rosa, the fair Frisian maid, had slipped into the 
recess of the door, with a handkerchief to her mouth 
to stifle her sighs and her sobs. 

Cornelius listened to the sentence with an expres- 
sion rather of surprise than sadness. 

After the sentence was read, the Recorder asked 
him whether he had anything to answer. 

Indeed I have not,” he replied. ** Only I con- 
fess that among all the causes of death which a 
cautious man should foresee so that he may guard 
against them, I never have thought of this.” 

Thereupon the Recorder saluted Van Baerle with 
all that consideration which such functionaries gener- 
ally bestow upon great criminals of every sort. 

Cornelius Van Baerle’s Will 93 

As he was taking his leave, Cornelius asked, By 
the way, what day will the sentence be carried out, 

Why, to-day," answered the Recorder, some- 
what oppressed by the self-possession of the con- 
demned man, 

A sob VJQ.S. heard behind the door. 

Cornelius turned to see whence it came; but Rosa 
had foreseen such a movement and had fallen back. 

“ What hour is appointed?" continued Cornelius. 

" Twelve o'clock, Mynheer." 

‘‘The devil!" exclaimed Cornelius. “ I think 
I heard the clock strike ten about twenty minutes 
ago : I have not much time to spare. ' ’ 

“ Indeed you have not, if you wish to make your 
peace with God," said the Recorder, bowing to the 
ground. “You may ask for any clergyman you 
please. ' ’ 

Saying these words he backed himself out ; and the 
substitute jailer was about to follow him and lock 
the door of Cornelius's cell, when a white, trembling 
arm was interposed between him and the heavy 

Cornelius saw only the golden-brocade cap, daintily 
trimmed with white lace, — a head-dress peculiar to 
lovely Frisian damsels; he heard nothing but some 
one whispering into the ear of the turnkey. But the 
latter put his heavy keys into the while hand which 
was stretched out to receive them, and descending a 
few steps, sat down on the staircase, — which thus 
was guarded above by himself, and below by the dog. 
The cap turned round, and Cornelius beheld the face 
of Rosa, moist with tears, and her beautiful blue 
eyes streaming with them. 

She went up to Cornelius, folding her arms on her 
heaving breast. 

“Alas, Mynheer! alas!" she sobbed, but could 
say no more. 

My good girl," Cornelius replied with emotion ^ 
“what do you wish? I tell you frankly that my 
power and influence are very limited henceforth.’' 

94 The Black Tulip 

I come to ask a favour of you,” said Rosa, ex- 
tending her hands partly toward him and partly 
toward heaven. 

Don^t weep so, Rosa,” said the prisoner, “for 
your tears move me much more deeply than my 
approaching fate; and you know the less guilty a 
prisoner is, the more incumbent is it upon him to die 
calmly, and even joyfully, as he dies a martyr. So 
weep no more, and tell me what you desire, my pretty 

She knelt at his feet. “ Forgive my father,” she 

“ Your father I” said Cornelius, in amazement. 

^ ‘ Yes ; he has been so harsh to you. But it is his 
nature; he is so to every one, and you are not the 
only one whom he has bullied. ’ ' 

“ He is punished, my dear Rosa, more than enough, 
by the accident that has befallen him ; and I forgive 

“ I thank you,” said Rosa. “ And now tell me — 
oh, pray tell me — can I do nothing for you in return ?” 

“ You can dry your beautiful eyes, my dear child,” 
answered Cornelius, with a gentle smile. 

“ But for you, — for you?” 

‘ ' A man who has only one hour longer to live must 
be a great Sybarite still to want anything, my dear 

“ The clergyman whom they have proposed to 

“ I have worshipped God all my life; I have wor- 
shipped Him in His works, and blessed His will. He 
can have nothing against me, and so I do not wish for 
a clergyman. The last thought which occupies my 
mind, however, has reference to the glory of the 
Almighty. Help me, my dear, I beseech you, in carry- 
ing out my last thought.” 

“Oh, Mynheer Cornelius, speak, speak!” ex- 
claimed Rosa, still bathed in tears. 

“ Give me your fair hand, and promise not to 
laugh, my dear child.” 

“ Laugh i” exclaimed Rosa, despairingly, — “ laugh, 

Cornelius Van Baerle’s Will 95 

at such a moment ! You cannot have looked at me^ 
Mynheer Cornelius/^ 

“ I have looked at you, Rosa, both with my bodily 
eyes and with the eyes of my soul. I have never seen 
a woman more fair or more pure than you are, and if 
from this moment I take no more notice of you, for- 
give me; it is only because, being ready to leave this 
world, I prefer to do so without regret.*’ 

Rosa started in alarm. As the prisoner pronounced 
these words, the belfry clock of the Buytenhof struck 

Cornelius understood her. ‘‘Yes, yes, let us make 
haste,” he said; “ you are right, Rosa.” 

Then taking the paper with the three bulbs from his 
breast, where he had again put it since he had no 
longer any fear of being searched, he said, — 

“ My dear girl, I have been very fond of flowers. 
That was at a time when I did not know that there 
was anything else to be loved. Don’t blush, Rosa, 
nor turn away, even though I should make you a 
declaration of love. Alas, poor dear I it would be of 
no consequence; down there in the square there is a 
certain keen blade which in sixty minutes will punish 
my boldness. Well, Rosa, I loved flowers dearly, 
and I have found — or at least I believe so — ^thc secret 
of the great black tulip, which it has been considered 
impossible to grow, and for which, as you may or 
may not know, a prize of a hundred thousand florins 
has been offered by the Horticultural Society of 
Harlem. These hundred thousand florins — and 
Heaven knows they are not my only subject of regret 
— these hundred thousand florins I have here in this 
paper; for they are won by the three bulbs wrapped 
up in it, — ^which you may take, Rosa, for I make you 
a present of them.” 

“ Mynheer Cornelius !” 

“Yes, yes, Rosa, you may take them ; you are not 
wronging any one, my child. I am alone in this 
world. My parents are dead ; I never had a sister or 
a brother; I have never had a thought of loving any 
one with what is called love, and if any one has ever 

96 The Black Tulip 

thoug-ht of loving me, I have not known it. More- 
over, you can see well, Rosa, that I am abandoned by 
everybody, since at this moment you alone are with 
me in my prison, consoling and assisting me. ’’ 

“ But, Mynheer, a hundred thousand florins 
Well, let us talk seriously, my dear child. Those 
hundred thousand florins will be a nice marriage- 
portion to go with your pretty face; you shall have 
them, for I am quite sure of my bulb. You shall have 
them, Rosa, dear Rosa, and I ask nothing in return 
but your promise that you will marry some worthy 
fellow, not too old, whom you love, and who will love 
you as dearly as I loved my flowers. Don’t interrupt 
me. Rosa, — I have only a few minutes more. ” 

The poor girl was nearly choking with her sobs. 

Cornelius took her hand. 

Listen to me,” he continued; this is what you 
must do. Take some earth from my garden at Dort. 
Ask Butruysheim, my gardener, for some soil from 
my bed number six ; fill a deep box with it, and plant 
in it these three bulbs. They will flower next May, — 
that is to say, in seven months ; and when you see the 
flower forming on the stem, be careful at night to pro- 
tect them from the wind and by day to screen them 
from the sun. They will bear a black flower; I am 
quite sure of it. You must at once inform the 
President of the Harlem Society. He will cause 
the colour of the flower to be declared by the com- 
mittee, and the hundred thousand florins will be paid 
to you.” 

Rosa heaved a deep sigh. 

“And now,” continued Cornelius, wiping away a 
tear which was g-l'atcn'pg in his eye, and which was 
shed much more fer that mar-T‘ black tulip which 
he was not to see than for the life which he was about 
to lose, “ I desire 1 except that the tulip 

should be called ‘ sosa — that is to say, 

that its name should combine yours and mine ; and as, 
of course, you do not understand Latin, and might 
therefore forget this name^ try to get me a pencil and 
paper, so that I may write it down for you. ” 

Cornelius Van Baerle’s Will 97 

Rosa sobbed afresh, and handed him a book, bound 
in scagT^'en, which bore the initials C. W. 

“ VVhat is this?*’ asked the prisoner, 

“ Alas !” replied Rosa, “it is the Bible of your 
poor g-odfather, Cornelius de Witt. From it he 
derived strength to endure the torture, and to hear 
his sentence without flinching. I found it in this 
cell, after the martyr’s death, and have preserved it 
as a relic. To-day I brought it to you, for it seemed 
to me that this book must possess in itself a divine 
power. But Gk)d be praised ! you needed no strength 
beyond what He has given you. Write in it what 
you have to write, Mynheer Cornelius ; and though, 
unfortunately, I am not able to read, I will take care 
that what you write shall be attended to. ’ ’ 

Cornelius took the Bible, and kissed it reverently. 

“ With what shall I write?’* he asked. 

“ There is a pencil in the Bible,” said Rosa,* “ I 
found it there, and let it remain.” 

This was the pencil which John de Witt had lent 
to his brother, and which he had forgotten to take 

Cornelius took it, and on the second fly-leaf (for it 
will be remembered that the first was torn out), like 
his godfather, with death at hand, he wrote no less 
firmly : — 

On this 23rd of August, 1672, being about to render my soul 
to God on the scaffold, although I am guiltless in His sight, I 
bequeath to Rosa Gryphus the only property which remains 
to me of all that I have possessed in this world, the rest hav- 
ing been confiscated : I bequeath, I say, to Rosa Gryphus three 
bulbs, which I am convinced must produce in the ensuing 
month of May the great black tulip, for which a prize of a 
hundred thousand florins has been offered by the Harlem 
Society, — ^requesting that she may be paid the said sum in my 
stead, as my sole heiress, upon the sole conditions that she 
marry some respectable young man of about my age, who loves 
her, and whom she loves, and that she give the great black 
tulip, which will constitute a new species, the name of “ Rosa 
Barlaensis;” that is to say, hers and mine combined. 

So may God grant me mercy, and to her, health and long 

Cornelius van Baerle. 


98 The Black Tulip 

Then, giving- the Bible to Rosa, he said, — 

“ Read.’’ 

“ Alas 1” she answered, ‘‘ I have already told you 
I cannot read.” 

.Cornelius then read to Rosa the will that he had 
just made. 

The sobs of the poor girl redoubled. 

“Do you accept my conditions?” asked the 
prisoner, with a melancholy smile, kissing the 
trembling hands of the lovely maiden. 

“ Oh, I don’t know, Mynheer,” she stammered. 

“ You don’t know, child, — and why not?” 

“ Because there is one condition which I am 
afraid I cannot keep.” 

^ ‘ Which ? I thought that all was settled between 

“ You give me the hundred thousand florins as a 
.‘'■I.' do you not?” 

( . n • I 

i c^. 

“ Upon condition that I marry a man whom I 

“ Certainly.” 

“ Well, then, Mynheer, this money cannot belong 
to me. I shall never love any one; neither shall I 

Having with difliculty uttered these words, Rosa 
sank upon her knees and almost swooned in the 
violence of her grief. 

Cornelius, frightened at seeing her so pale and 
lifeless, was about to take her in his arms, when a 
heavy step, accompanied by other ominous sounds, 
was heard on the staircase, amid the continued bark- 
ing of the dog. 

“ They are coming to take you away ! Oh, God ! 
Oh, God I” cried Rosa, wringing her hands. “ Have 
you nothing more to tell me?” 

Again she fell on her knees, with her face buried 
in her hands, weeping copiously, and sobbing as if 
her heart would break. 

“ I have only to say that I wish you to preserve 
these bulbs as a most precious treasure, and care- 

Cornelius Van Baerle’s Will 99 

fully to treat them according to the directions I have 
given you, and for love of me. And now, farewell, 
Rosa. ’ ’ 

‘‘Yes, yes,’’ she said, without raising her head; 
“ oh, yes, I will do anything you bid me — except 
marrying,” she added in a low voice, “ for that, oh, 
indeed ! that is impossible for me.” 

She then hid Cornelius’s cherished treasure in her 

The noise on the staircase which Cornelius and 
Rosa had heard was caused by the Recorder, who 
was coming for the prisoner, followed by the execu- 
tioner, by the soldiers who were to form the guard 
round the scaffold, and by some curious ' ^ 

of the prison. 

Cornelius, as free from w^eakness as from 
bravado, received them rather as friends than as 
persecutors, and quietly submitted to all the con- 
ditions which these men in the performance of their 
duty saw fit to impose. 

Then casting a glance into the square through his 
narrow iron-barred window, he perceived the scaf- 
fold, and twenty paces from it the gibbet, from 
which, by order of the Stadtholder, the outraged 
remains of the two brothers De Witt had been taken 

When the moiment came to follow the guards 
down to the square, Cornelius sought with his eyes 
Rosa’s angelic face ; but he saw, behind the swords 
and halberds, only a form lying outstretched near a 
wooden bench, and a death-like face half covered 
with long golden locks. 

But as she fell senseless, Rosa, still true to her 
friend’s behest, had pressed her hand on her velvet 
bodice, and even in her unconsciousness instinctively 
grasped the precious package which Cornelius had 
entrusted to her care. 

Leaving the cell, the young man could still see 
in the convulsively-clenched fingers of Rosa the 
yellowish leaf from that Bible on which Cornelius de 
Witt had with such difficulty and pain written those 

loo The Black Tulip 

few lines, which, if Van Baerle had^ read themi 
would undoubtedly have been the salvation of a man 
and a tulip. 



Cornelius had not three hundred paces to walk 
outside the prison to reach the foot of the scaffold. 
At the bottom of the staircase the dog quietly looked 
at him while he was passing. Cornelius even fancied 
he saw in the animaPs eyes a certain expression 
which was almost compassion. 

The dog, perhaps, knew by instinct the con- 
demned prisoners, and reserved his teeth for those 
who left as free men. 

The shorter the way from the door of the prison 
to the foot of the scaffold the more thickly, of 
course, the curiosity-seekers were crowded together. 

They were the same people who, not satisfied with 
the blood which they had shed three days before, 
were now craving for a new victim. 

Therefore Cornelius had scarcely made his appear- 
ance when a fierce roar ran through the whole street, 
spreading all over the square, and re-echoing from 
the streets w^hich led to the scaffold, and which were 
likewise crowded with spectators. 

The scaffold indeed resembled an islet at the con- 
fluence of several rivers. 

In the midst of these threats and groans and yells, 
Cornelius, undoubtedly so that he might not hear 
them, was utterly self-absorbed. 

What thoughts occupied the mind of this just 
man, whom death was staring in the face? 

They were not of his enemies nor of his judges 
nor of his executioners. 

He was thinking of the beautiful tulips which he 
would see from his lofty abode on high, at Ceylon, 


The Execution 

or Bengal, or elsewhere, when seated among the 
pure of heart at the right hand of the Almighty he 
might look down with pity on this earth, where John 
and Cornelius de Witt had been murdered for having 
thought too much of politics, and where Cornelius 
van B aerie was about to meet with a like fate for 
having been too much devoted to tulips.^ 

‘‘ It is only one stroke of the axe,*’ said the philo- 
sopher to himself, and my beautiful dream will 
begin to be realized. ” 

But there was still a doubt whether, as in the case 
of M. de Chalais, M. de Thou, and other people who 
had been put to death by bunglers, the headsman 
might not have to inflict more than one stroke, — ^that 
is to say, more than one martyrdom, — on the poor 

Yet Van Baerle mounted the steps of his scaffold 
none the less resolutely. 

As he mounted them he was conscious of a feeling 
of pride, whatever might befall, of having been the 
friend of the illustrious John, and godson of the 
noble-hearted Cornelius, whom the very ruffians who 
were now crowding to witness his doom had torn to 
pieces and burned three days before. 

He knelt down, prayed fervently, and noticed, not 
without a feeling of sincere joy, that as he lay his 
head on the block, if he kept his eyes open, he would 
be able to the last to see the grated window of the 

At length the fatal moment arrived, and Cornelius 
placed his chin on the cold, damp block; but as he 
did so, his eyes closed involuntarily, in order that 
he might receive more resolutely the terrible stroke 
which was about to fall on his head and blot out his 

A ray of light fell upon the planking of the scaffold 
as the executioner raised his sword. 

Van Baerle bade farewell to the great black tulip, 
certain of awaking with thanks to God upon his lips 
in another world filled with a more glorious and 
brighter-hued radiance. 

102 The Black Tulip 

Three times he feit with a shudder a cold current 
of air as the knife passed over his neck; but to his 
surprise he felt neither pain nor shock. 

He saw no change in the appearance of the clouds. 

Then suddenly Van Baerle felt gentle hands rais- 
ing him, without knowing whose they were, and 
soon stood on his feet again, although trembling a 

He opened his eyes. Some one by his side was 
reading from a huge parchment, sealed with a huge 
seal of red wax. 

And the same sun, yellow and pale, as it behoves 
a Dutch sun to be, was shining in the skies; and 
the same grated window looked down upon him 
from the Buytenhof, and the same rabble, no longer 
yelling but completely thunderstruck, were staring 
up at him from all sides of the square. 

By dint of keeping his eyes open and looking and 
listening, Van Baerle began to understand what it 
all meant. 

The fact was that Monseigneur, William Prince 
of Orange, afraid without doubt that the seventeen 
pounds of blood, lacking a few ounces, which Van 
Baerle had in his body, might cause the cup of divine 
justice to overflow, had compassionately taken into 
consideration his good character and the apparent 
proofs of his innocence. His Highness, accordingly, 
had granted him his life. 

That is why the sword, which had been raised 
with sinister intent, had circled three times above 
his head, as the bird of ill omen did above that of 
Turnus, but had not descended, and had left his 
vertebrae intact. 

That is why he had felt no pain and no shock ; and 
for the same reason, the sun was still smiling upon 
him from the blue — rather a dingy shade, to be sure, 
but still very agreeable — blue vault of heaven, 

Cornelius, who had rather hoped that he was to 
see the Lord, and to enjoy a panoramic view of all 
the tulip-bearing universe, was a little disappointed ; 
but he comforted himself somewhat with the plea- 

The Execution 103 

sure he experienced in exercising the muscles of that 
part of the body, which the Greeks called the Tpdx^Xoj, 
but to which we French have given the name of “ le 

col ” (the neck). 

Cornelius at first hoped that the pardon would be 
complete, and that he would be restored to full 
liberty and to his flower-beds at Dort. 

But Cornelius was mistaken. To use an expres- 
sion of Madame de Sdvig-nd, who wrote about the 
same time, There was a postscript to the letter;’^ 
and the most important part of the letter was con- 
tained in the postscript. 

By this postscript, William of Orange, Stadtholder 
of Holland, condemned Cornelius van Baerle to im- 
prisonment for life. He was not sufficiently guilty 
to suffer death, but he was too much so to be set at 

Cornelius listened to the reading of the postscript ; 
but the first feeling of vexation and disappointment 
over, he said to himself, — 

“Never mind, all is not lost; this perpetual im- 
prisonment has its alleviations. I shall have Rosa, 
and I shall also have my three bulbs of the black 
tulip. ’ ’ 

But Cornelius forgot that the Seven Provinces had 
seven prisons, one for each province; and that the 
board of the prisoners is less expensive anywhere 
else than at the Hague, which is a capital. 

His Highness William, who apparently could not 
afford to feed Van Baerle at the Hague, sent him to 
undergo his perpetual imprisonment at the fortress 
of Loewestein, very near Dort, but, alas ! also very 
far from it; for Loewestein, as the geographers tell 
us, is situated at the point of the islet which is 
formed by the confluence of the Waal and the 
Meuse, opposite Gorcum. 

Van Baerle was sufficiently versed in the history 
of his country to know that the celebrated Grotius 
was confined in that castle, after the death of Barne- 
veldt : and that the States, in their generosity to 
the illustrious publicist, jurist, historian, poet, and 

104 The Black Tulip 

divine, had granted to him for his daily maintenance 
the sum of twenty-four Dutch sous. 

“I,” said Baerle to himself, “who am worth 
much less than Grotius, shall be fortunate if I get 
twelve sous, and I shall live miserably 5 but never 
mind, — at all events, I shall be alive. 

Then suddenly a terrible thought struck him. 

‘‘ Ah,” he exclaimed, “ how damp and cloudy that 
part of the country is; and the soil is bad for the 

tulips P' . 

Then he muttered to himself, as he let his head, 
which had come so near falling much farther, fall 
upon his chest, — 

“ And then there’s Rosa ; she will not be at Loewe- 



While Cornelius was reflecting upon his fate, a 
coach had driven up to the scaffold. This vehicle 
was for the prisoner. He was invited to enter it, 
and he obeyed. 

His last look was towards the Buytenhof. He 
hoped to see at the window Rosa’s face with an ex- 
pression of satisfaction upon it; but the coach was 
drawn by good horses, who soon carried Van Baerle 
away from the shouts which the populace indulged la 
in honour of the most magnanimous Stadtholder, 
interm' ogled with a spice of abuse against the 
brothers ^De Witt and the godson of Cornelius, who 
had just been snatched from the jaws of death. 

This reprieve suggested to the worthy spectators 
remarks such as the following : — 

“It’s very fortunate that we used such speed in 
having justice done to that great villain John and to 
that little rogue Cornelius; otherwise his Highness’s 

What was going on 105 

soft heart would certainly have cheated us out of our 
vengeance upon them as well as upon this fellow.” 

Among ail the spectators whom Van Baerle^s 
execution had attracted to the Buytenhof, and whom 
the sudden turn of affairs had disagreeably surprised, 
beyond question the most disappointed was a 
certain respectably-dressed burgher, who from early 
morning had made such a good use of his feet and 
elbows that he at last was separated from the scaf- 
fold only by the file of soldiers who surrounded the 
instrument of punishment. 

Many had shown themselves eager to see the 

perfidious ” blood of the guilty Cornelius flow, but 
not one had expressed his eagerness with such a show 
of implacable vindictiveness as the individual m 

The most furious had come to the Buytenhof^ at 
daybreak to secure a better place; but he, outdoing 
even them, had passed the night at the door of the 
prison, and thence, as we have already said, he had 
made his way to the very foremost rank, unguihus 
et rostro; that is to say, coaxing some and pushing 

When the executioner had brought the prisoner 
to the scaffold, the burgher who had mounted on the 
capstone of the fountain, the better to see and be 
seen, made the executioner a sign, as much as to 

It^s a bargain, isnT it?” 

The executioner answered by another sign, which 
implied, — 

“ Never fear, it^s all right.” 

Who was this burgher who seemed on such terms 
of mutual understanding with the executioner, and 
what was the significance of this interchange of 
gestures ? 

Nothing could be more easily explained ; it was no 
other than Mynheer Isaac Boxtel, who after the 
arrest of Cornelius had come to the Hague to see if 
he could not get hold of the three bulbs of the black 

io6 The Black Tulip 

Boxtel had at first tried to bring- over Gryphus to 
his interest; but he was a very bulldog for fidelity to 
his trust, and proneness to suspicion, and snarling 
manners. He had therefore bristled up at the hatred 
expressed by Boxtel, whom he suspected^ to be a 
warm friend of the prisoner, making trifling in- 
quiries, to contrive with the more certainty some 
means of escape for him. 

Thus to the very first proposals which Boxtel made 
to Gryphus to filch the bulbs, which Cornelius pro- 
bably had concealed in his breast or in some corner 
of his ceil, Gryphus ’s sole reply was to show him the 
door, whither he was attended by the dog of the 
stairway with caressing touches, 

Boxtel was not discouraged merely because he had 
left a piece of his trousers in the mastiff’s mouth. 
He returned to the charge, but this time Gryphus 
was in his bed, feverish, and with a broken arm. 
He therefore did not himself admit his solicitor, who 
then addressed himself to Rosa, offering her a head- 
dress of pure gold in exchange for the three^ bulbs. 
Whereupon the noble girl, who then had no idea of 
the value of the object which she was requested to 
steal, and for which she was to be so well paid, had 
advised the tempter to apply to the executioner, he 
being the final judge as well as the last heir of the 
condemned man. 

This repulse suggested a new scheme to Boxtel. 

Meanwhile the sentence had been pronounced, and 
was to be speedily executed, as we have seen. Thus 
Isaac had no more time to bribe any one. He there- 
fore seized upon the idea which Rosa had suggested ; 
he went to the executioner. 

Isaac had not the least doubt but that Cornelius 
would die with his bulbs next his heart 

But there were two things which Boxtel did not 
calculate upon. 

Rosa, — that is to say, love ; and 

William of Orange, — that is to say, clemency. 

But for Rosa and William the calculations of the 
envious wretch were correct. 

What was going on 107 

But for William, Corrrelius would have died. 

But for Rosa, Cornelius would have died with his 
bulbs next his heart. 

Mynheer Boxtel went to the headsman, to whom 
he gfave himself out as a great friend of the con- 
demned man, and bought from him all the effects, 
save the gold and silver trinkets of the dead man that 
was to be, for the rather exorbitant sum of one 
hundred florins. 

But what were a paltry hundred florins to a man 
who was all but sure to buy with them the prize of 
the Harlem Society? 

It was money lent at the rate of a thousand for 
one, which, as nobody will deny, was a very satis- 
factory investment. 

The headsman, on the other hand, had scarcely 
anything to do to earn his hundred florins. He 
needed only, as soon as the execution was over, to 
allow Mynheer Boxtel to ascend the scaffold with his 
servants to remove the inanimate remains of his 

It was a very common thing for faithful servitors 
to do when one of their masters died a public death 
in the Buytenhof square. 

A fanatic like Cornelius might very well have for 
a friend another fanatic who would give a hundred 
florins for his effects. 

Therefore the executioner readily acquiesced in the 
proposal, insisting upon only one condition, — that he 
should be paid in advance. 

Boxtel, like the people who enter a show at a fair, 
might not be pleased, and refuse to pay on going out. 

Boxtel paid in advance, and waited. 

After this the reader may imagine how excited 
Boxtel was ; with what anxiety he watched the 
guards, the Recorder, and the executioner; and with 
what intense interest he surveyed the movements of 
Van Baerle. How would he place himself on the 
block ; how would he fall ; and would he not, in fall- 
ing, crush those priceless bulbs? Had he not at 
least taken care to enclose them in a golden box,— 
for gold is the hardest of all metals? 

io8 The Black Tulip 

We will not attempt to describe the effect produced 
upon this worthy individual by the delays interposed 
to the execution of the sentence. ^ Why did that 
stupid executioner thus waste his time b 
his sword over the head of Cornelius, instead of 
cutting that head off? But when he saw the Recorder 
take the hand of the condemned and lift him, as he 
drew the parchment from his pocket ; when he heard 
the pardon granted by the Stadtholder publicly read 
out, — then Boxtel was no longer a human being. 
The rage of the tiger, of the hyena, and of the 
serpent glistened in his eyes, and vented itself in his 
yell and' his movements. Had he been within reach 
of Van Baerle, he would have pounced upon him and 
killed him. 

And so, then, Cornelius was to live, and was to 
go to Loewestein ; and he would take his bulbs to his 
prison with him; and perhaps he would find some 
garden where the black tulip would flower for him ! 

There are certain calamities which the pen of a 
writer, who is but human, is powerless to describe, 
but which he must leave to his readers’ imagination, 
contenting himself with a bare statement of the facts. 

Boxtel, almost fainting, fell from the stone upon 
some Orangemen who, like him, were sorely vexed 
at the turn which affairs had taken. They, mistak- 
ing the frantic cries of Mynheer Isaac for demonstra- 
tions of joy, began to belabour him with kicks and 
cuffs, such as could not have been administered in 
better style on the other side of the Channel, 

But what could a few blows of the fist add to such 
sufferings as Boxtel underwent? 

He w^anted to run after the coach which was carry- 
ing away Cornelius with his bulbs. But in his hurry 
he overlooked a paving-stone in his way, stumbled, 
lost his centre of gravity, rolled over to a distance 
of some yards, and only rose again, bruised and 
begrimed, after the whole rabble of the Hague with 
their muddy feet had passed over him. 

Thus poor Boxtel, who was in hard luck that day, 
added torn clothes, a broken back, and scratched 
hands to his other woes. 

The Pigeons of Dort 109 

One might have thought that this was enough 
for one day ; but, no ! Mynheer Boxtel, once more 
on his feet, proceeded to tear out all of his hair that 
would come out, as a sacrifice to the insane, sense- 
less divinity called Envy, — a grateful offering, with- 
out doubt, to the goddess, who, as mythology teaches 
us, wears a head-dress of serpents. 



It was, indeed, in itself a great honour for Cor- 
nelius van Baerle to be confined in the same prison 
which had once received the learned Grotius. 

But when he arrived at the prison he found that 
a still more honour was in store for 

him. It so happened that the very cell which had 
been occupied by Olden-Barn eveldt’s illustrious 
disciple at Loewestein was vacant when Van Baerle 
the tulip-fancier was sent there by the clemency of 
the Prince of Orange. 

The cell had a very bad character at the castle, 
because Grotius, thanks to his wife’s fertile brain, 
had escaped from it in that famous book-chest, which 
his guards omitted to examine. 

On the other hand, it seemed to Van Baerle an 
auspicious omen that this cell was assigned to him; 
for according to his ideas a jailer ought never to 
give to a second pigeon the cage from which a former 
occupant has so easily flown away. 

The cell is historical. We will not waste time by 
giving a detailed description of it here, save to say 
that there was an alcove in it, which had been used 
by Madame Grotius. It differed in no respect from 
the other cells of the prison, except that, perhaps, 
it was a little higher, and had a splendid view from 
the grated window. 

Moreover, the purpose of this tale is not to 

I lO 

The Black Tulip 

describe interiors. In Van Baerle’s eyes life was 
something beyond the mere act of breathing. Over 
and above his bodily machine he loved two things, 
which he could hereafter enjoy only in imaglnaLion, 
the gift of that indefatigable traveller thought, — 

A flower, and a woman j both of them, as he con- 
ceived, lost to him for ever. 

Fortunately, honest Van Baerle was mistaken. 
God, who had had His eyes upon him' with the smile 
of a loving father when he was walking to the scaf- 
fold, God had destined him to lead even in his prison- 
cell, the former abode of Grotius, the most adventur- 
ous life which ever fell to the lot of a tulip-fancier. 

One morning, while he stood at his window inhal- 
ing the fresh air which came from the Waal, and 
gazing longingly from afar at the windmills of his 
native Dort, which could be seen in the distance 
behind a forest of chimneys, he saw flocks of pigeons 
come from that quarter, and perch fluttering in the 
sunlight on the pointed gables of Loewestein. 

“These pigeons,’’ Van Baerle said to himself, 
“ have come from Dort, and consequently may 
return there. By fastening a little note to the wing 
of one of them I might have a chance to send a 
message to Dort, where my friends are grieving for 
me. ' ^ 

Then, after a few moments’ consideration, he ex- 
claimed, “ I will do it.” 

Patience comes very easy to a man of twenty-eight 
who is condemned to imprisonment for life; that is 
to say, to something like twenty-two or twenty-three 
thousand days of captivity. 

Van Baerle, still thinking of the three bulbs, — for 
that thought was continually knocking at the door 
of his memory, as the heart beats in the breast, — 
made a snare for catching the pigeons. He tempted 
the flighty creatures with all the resources afforded 
him by his kitchen, which cost eighteen Dutch sous 
(twelve French) per day; and after a month of 
unsuccessful attempts, he at last caught a female 


The Pigeons of Dort 

It cost him two more months to catch a male 
bird ; he then shut them up tog ether, and having 
about the beginning of the year 1673 obtained some 
eggs from them, he released the female, which, leav- 
ing the male behind to hatch the eggs in her stead, 
flew joyously to Dort with a note under her wing. 

She returned m the evening. She still had the 
note. > 

Thus it went on for fifteen days, while Van Baerle’s 
first feeling of bitter disappointment changed to utter 

On the sixteenth day, at last, the bird came back 
without it. 

Van Baerle had addressed it to his nurse, the old 
Frisian woman; and implored any charitable soul 
who might find it, to convey it to her as safely and 
speedily as possible. 

In this letter addressed to the nurse there was a 
little enclosure for Rosa. 

God, who with a single breath scatters the grain 
upon the walls of time-worn castles, and fertilizes it 
there with a drop of rain, decreed in His infinite 
goodness that Van Baerle *s nurse should receive 
the letter. 

This is how it came about. 

When he left Dort for the Hague, and the Hague 
for Gorcum, Mynheer Isaac Boxtel had abandoned 
not only his house, his servant, his observatory, and 
his telescope, but his pigeons as well. 

The servant, having been left without wages, began 
by living on his little savings, and then resorted to 
his master’s pigeons. 

Seeing this, the pigeons emigrated from the roof 
of Isaac Boxtel to that of Cornelius van Baerle. 

The nurse was a kind-hearted woman, who could 
not live without something to love. She 

conceived an j-fi'cc'tiop [,-»r the pigeons, which had 
thrown themselves on her hospitality ; and when 
Boxtel’s servant reclaimed them, with the idea of 
eating the last twelve or fifteen, ^ as he had already 
done with the others, she offered to buy them from 
him at six Dutch sous each. 

1 12 The Black Tulip 

This being' just double their value, the man was 
very glad to close the bargain, and the nurse found 
herself in undisputed possession of the pigeons of 
her master’s envious neighbour. ^ 

These pigeons with others, in the course of their 
wanderings, visited the Hague, Lcewestein, and 
Rotterdam, seeking variety, doubtless, in the flavour 
of their wheat or hemp seed. 

Chance, or rather God, for we can see the hand 
of God in everything, had willed that Cornelius van 
Baerie should happen to hit upon one of these very 

It follows that if the envious fellow had not left 
Dort to follow his rival to the Hague in the first 
place, and then to Gorcum or to Lcewestein, for the 
two places are separated only by the confluence of 
the Waal and the Meuse,— Van Baerle’s letter would 
have fallen into his hands and not the nurse’s; m 
which event the poor prisoner, like the raven of the 
Roman cobbler, would have thrown away his time 
and his trouble, and instead of having to relate the 
series of exciting events which are about to flow from 
beneath our pen like the varied hues of a many- 
coloured tapestry, we should have nought to describe 
but a weary waste of days, dull and melancholy and 
gloomy as night’s dark mantle. 

We have followed the note into the hands of Van 
Baerle’s nurse. 

So It happened that on one of the early days of 
February, just as the first shades of night were fail- 
ing from heaven, leaving the stars twinkling above 
them, Cornelius heard on the staircase of the tower 
a voice which made him start. 

He put his hand to his heart and listened. 

It was the sweet melodious voice of Rosa. 

Let us confess it : Cornelius was not so stupefied 
with surprise, or so beside himself with joy, as he 
would have been but for the pigeon, which in answer 
to his letter had brought back hope to him under her 
empty wing ; and knowing Rosa, he expected every 
day, if the note had ever reached her, to have news 
of his love and of his bulbs. 

The Pigeons of Dort 113 

He rose, listened once more, and bent toward the 

Yes, they were indeed the accents which had fallen 
so sweetly on his heart at the Hague. 

The question now was, whether Rosa, who had 
made the journey from the Hague to Loewestein, and 
who — Cornelius did not understand how — had suc- 
ceeded even in penetrating into the prison, would 
have as good success in making her way to the 
prisoner himself. 

While Cornelius, debating this point within him- 
self, was building all sorts of castles in the air, and 
was struggling between hope and fear, the shutter of 
the wicket in the door opened, and Rosa, with delight 
expressed in her beaming eyes as well as in every 
detail of her costume, and more beautiful than ever 
from the grief which for the last five months had 
blanched her cheeks, pressed her face against the 
wire grating of the window, saying to him, Oh, 
Mynheer, Mynheer ! here I am T’ 

Cornelius stretched out his arms, and raised his 
eyes heavenward, with a cry of joy. 

“ Oh, Rosa, Rosa 

“Hush! let us speak low; my father is close 
behind,’^ said the girl. 

“ Your father?^’ 

“Yes, he is in the courtyard at the bottom of the 
staircase, receiving the instructions of the Governor ; 
he will come up very soon.’’ 

“ The instructions of the Governor?” 

“ Listen to me, I’ll try to tell you all about it in a 
few words : The Stadtholder has a country-house 
about a league from Leyden, — a. large dairy, nothing 
more, — and my aunt, who was his nurse, has charge 
of all the cattle kept there. As soon as I received 
your letter, which, alas ! I could not read myself, but 
which your nurse read to me, I hastened to my aunt. 
There I remained until the Prince came to visit the 
dairy; and when he came, I asked him to allow my 
father to exchange his post as head turnkey at the 
prison of the Hague for that of jailer of the fortress 


1 14 The Black Tulip 

of Loewestein. The Prince did not suspect my 
object; had he known it he might have refused my 
request, but as it is, he granted it.** 

“ So you are here?*’ 

** As you see.** 

** And I shall see you every day?** 

As often as I can manage it.** 

‘ ‘ Oh, Rosa, my beautiful Rosa, do you care for 
me a little, then?*’ 

A little?” she said; “ you don’t ask for enough, 
Mynheer Cornelius.” 

Cornelius, with a passionate gesture, held out his 
hands towards her, but they were only able to touch 
each other with the tips of their fingers through the 

” Here is my father,** said Rosa. 

She abruptly drew back from the door, and ran 
to meet old Gryphus, who made his appearance at the 
top of the staircase. 



Gryphus was followed by the mastiff. 

He took the animal on his round through the jail, 
so that, in case of need, he might recognize the 

” Father,** said Rosa, ‘‘here is the famous cell 
from which Mynheer Grotius escaped. You know 
of Mynheer Grotius?** 

“Oh, yes, that rascal Grotius; a friend of that 
villain Barneveldt, whom I saw executed when I was 
a child. Aha ! Grotius, indeed ! And so that*s the 
cell from which he escaped. Well, 1*11 answer for it 
that no one shall follow his example.** 

And opening the door, he began to talk to the 
prisoner in the darkness. 

The dog, on his part, went up to the prisoner. 

The Little Grated Window 1 15 

and growled, and snuffed at his legs, as if to ask him 
what right he had still to be alive, after he had seen 
him leave the prison between the recorder and the 

But the fair Rosa called him to her side. 

“ Well, Mynheer,’* said Gryphus, holding up his 
lantern to throw a little light around, you see in 
me your new jailer. I am head turnkey, and have 
all the cells under my care. I’m not ill-tempered, 
but I’m not to be trifled with as far as discipline 

My good Master Gryphus, I know you perfectly 
well,” said the prisoner, entering the circle of light 
cast by the lantern. 

^‘Holloa! it’s you, is it, Mynheer van Baerle?” 
said Gryphus. It’s you, is it? Well, well, well, 
what a small place the world is I” 

“ Yes, and it’s really a great pleasure to me, good 
Master Gryphus, to see that your arm must be get- 
ting well, for you are able to hold your lantern with 
it. ” 

Gryphus frowned. 

“ That’s just the way,” he said; people always 
make blunders in politics. His Highness has granted 
you your life; I’m sure I should never have done so.” 

“ Pshaw !” replied Cornelius, why not?” 

'' ‘ Because you are the very man to begin conspiring 
again. You learned people have dealings with the 
devil. ” 

‘‘ Nonsense, Master Gryphus. Are you dissatisfied 
with the manner in which I set your arm, or with 
the price I asked you?” said Cornelius, laughing. 

‘ ‘ Quite the contrary, by my faith ! quite the con- 
trary 1” growled the jailer; “ you set it only too well. 
There is some witchcraft in this. After six weeks 
I was able to use it as if nothing had happened ; so 
much so, that the doctor of the Buytenhof, who 
knows his trade well, wanted to break it again, to set 
it in the regular way, and promised me that I should 
go three months without being able to move it.” 

” And you did not like that?” 

ii6 The Black Tulip 

I said, * Nay, as long as I can make the sign of 
the cross with that arm ’ (Gryphus was a Roman 
Catholic), ‘ I laugh at the devil/ 

“ But if you laugh at the devil, Master Gryphus, 
you ought with so much more reason to laugh at 

“Oh, you scholars, you scholars /’ cried Gryphus, 
without noticing the implied question ; “ you scholars ! 
Why, I would rather have to guard ten soldiers than 
one scholar. The soldiers smoke, guzzle, and get 
drunk ; they are as gentle as lambs if you only give 
them brandy or Moselle ; but for a scholar to drink, 
smoke, and get tipsy, ah, no ! They keep sober, for 
in that way they spend nothing, and have their heads 
always clear to conspire. But I tell you, at the 
very outset, it won’t be such an easy matter for you 
to conspire here. In the first place, no books, no 
papers, and no conjuring book. It’s books that 
helped Mynheer Grotius to get off.” 

“ I assure you, Master Gryphus,” replied Van 
Baerle, “ that although I may have for a moment 
entertained the idea of escaping, I most decidedly 
have no such idea now.” 

“ All right,” said Gryphus, all right ! Just keep 
a sharp watch over yourself, and I will do the same. 
But, for all that, I say his Highness has made a great 
mistake. ’ ’ 

“ Not to have cut off my head? Thank you, 
Master Gryphus.” 

“ To be sure; just see how quiet the Mynheers de 
Witt keep now.” 

“ What you say now, Master Gryphus, is very 
horrible!” cried Van Baerle, turning away his head 
to conceal his disgust. “You forget that one of 
those unfortunate gentlemen was my friend, and that 
the other was my second father.” 

“ Yes, but I also remember that both were con- 
spirators. And, moreover, I am speaking philan- 

“ Oh, indeed ! explain that a little to me, my good 
Master Gryphus, for I do not quite understand it.” 

The Little Grated Window 1 17 

Well, then, if you had remained on the block of 
Master Harbruck ” 

“ Well?’’ 

** You would now be done with suffering-; whereas, 
I will not conceal from you that I shall lead you a 
sad life of it here.” 

Thank you for the promise, Master Gryphus.” 

And while the prisoner smiled ironically at the old 
jailer, Rosa from behind the door replied with a smile 
full of sweet consolation. 

Gryphus stepped toward the window. 

It was still light enough to see the vast expanse of 
the horizon, indistinctly merged in a grey haze. 

‘‘ What view has one from here?” asked Gryphus. 

Why, a very fine one,” said Cornelius, with a 
glance at Rosa. 

“ Yes, yes, too much of a view, too much.” 

And at this moment the two pigeons, frightened 
by the sight, and especially by the voice of the 
stranger, left their nest, and disappeared in the even- 
ing mist. 

Halloa ! what’s this?” cried Gryphus. 

** My pigeons,” answered Cornelius. 

“ My pigeons !” echoed the jailer, “ my pigeons ! 
Has a prisoner anything of his own?” 

“ Why, then,” said Cornelius, the pigeons which 
a merciful Father in Heaven has lent to me.” 

“ So here we have a breach of the rules already,” 
replied Gryphus. ‘‘ Pigeons ! ah, young man, young 
man, I’ll tell you one thing, that before to-morrow 
is over your pigeons will boil in my pot. ” 

First of all you must catch them, Master 
Gryphus. You won’t allow these pigeons to be 
mine? Well, I vow they are even less yours than 

“What is postponed is not abandoned,” growled 
the jailer, “and I shall certainly wring their necks 
before twenty-four hours are over.” 

As he gave utterance to this ill-natured promise, 
Gryphus put his head out of the window to examine 
the nest. This gave Van Baerle time to run to the 

ii8 The Black Tulip 

door, and squeeze the hand of Rosa, who whispered 
to him, — 

At nine o’clock this evening*.” 

Gryphus, quite taken up with the desire of catching 
the pigeons next day, as he had promised he would 
do, saw and heard nothing of this ; and having closed 
the Vvindow he took the arm of his cn'.g'''tcr. left 
the cell, turned the key twice, drew the bolts, and 
went off to make the same kind promises to the 
other prisoners. 

He was scarcely out of sight, when Cornelius went 
to the door to listen to the sound of his footsteps, 
and as soon as they had died away he ran to the 
window, and completely demolished the nest of the 

He preferred to banish for ever from his presence 
the gentle messengers to whom he owed the happiness 
of his re-union with Rosa, rather than to expose them 
to clanger of death. 

This" visit of the jailer, his brutal threats, and the 
gloomy prospect of his administration, from which 
he knew what to expect, — all this failed to distract 
Cornelius from his cheerful thoughts, and especially 
the sweet hope which the presence of Rosa had 
re-awakened in his heart. 

He waited eagerly to hear the clock of the tower 
of Loewestein strike nine. 

Rosa had said, — 

‘‘ At nine, expect me.” 

The last stroke was still vibrating through the air, 
when Cornelius heard on the staircase the light step 
and the rustle of the flowing dress of the fair Frisian 
maid, and soon after, a light appeared at the little 
wicket in the door, on which the prisoner fixed his 
earnest gaze. 

The shutter was opened from the outside. 

** Here I am,” said Rosa, out of breath from run- 
ning up the stairs; “ here I am.” 

‘‘ Oh, my good Rosa !” 

Are you glad to see me?” 

“ Can you ask? But how did you contrive to get 
here? Tell me.” 

The Little Grated Window 119 

** Well, listen. My father falls asleep every even- 
ing, almost immediately after his supper j I then 
make him lie down, for he is a little stupefied with his 
gin. Don’t say anything about it, because, thanks 
to this nap, I shall be able to come every evening 
and talk for an hour with you.” 

Oh, I thank you, Rosa, dear Rosa.” 

As he spoke, Cornelius put his face so near the 
little window that Rosa withdrew hers. 

‘‘ I have brought you your bulbs,” said she. 

Cornelius’s heart leaped with joy. He had not yet 
dared to ask Rosa what she had done with the 
precious treasure which he had entrusted to her. 

“ Oh, you have preserved them, then?” 

Did you not give them to me as a thing which 
was dear to you?” 

Yes; but as I did give them to you, it seems to 
me that they belong to you.” 

They would have belonged to me after your 
death ; but, fortunately, you are alive now. Oh, how 
I blessed his Highness in my heart 1 If God grants 
Prince William all the happiness that I have wished 
him, certainly King William will be the happiest man 
not only in his kingdom, but in all the world. You 
were living, I said to myself; and while I kept the 
Bible of your godfather Cornelius, I was resolved to 
bring you your bulbs, only I did not know how to 
accomplish it. So I had already formed the plan of 
going to the Stadtholder to ask from him my father’s 
appointment as jailer at Lcewestein when your nurse 
brought me your letter. Oh, we shed many tears 
together, I assure you. But your letter only con- 
firmed me the more in my resolution. I then left for 
Leyden, and the rest you know.” 

“ What ! my dear Rosa, you thought, even before 
receiving my letter, of coming to be near me again?” 

“ Did I think of it?” said Rosa, allowing her love 
to get the better of her bashfulness ; * ‘ indeed I 
thought of nothing else.” 

As she said this, Rosa looked so exceedingly beau- 
tiful that for the second time Cornelius placed his 


The Black Tulip 

forehead and Hps against the bars, with the laudable 
purpose, doubtless, of thanking the young lady. 

Rosa, however, drew back as before. 

'‘In truth,’* she said, with that coquetry which 
somehow or other is in the heart of every young girl, 
“ in truth I have often been sorry that I am not able 
to read, but never so much so, or in exactly the same 
way, as when your nurse brought me your letter. I 
kept the paper in my hands, which spoke to other 
people, but was dumb for me, poor fool that I am.” 

‘ ‘ So you have often regretted not being able to 
read?” said Cornelius. On what occasions, pray?” 

“Faith,” said she, laughing, “to read all the 
letters which have been written to me.” 

“ Oh, you receive letters, Rosa, do you?” 

“ By hundreds !” 

“But who ever wrote to you?” 

“Who? Why, in the first place, all the students 
who passed over the Buytenhof Square; all the 
officers who went to parade; all the clerks, and even 
the merchants who used to see me at my little 

“And what did you do with all these notes, my 
dear Rosa?” 

“ Formerly,’* she answered, “ I got some friend to 
read them to me, which was capital fun; but since 
a certain time — well, what use was it to listen to such 
nonsense? — since a certain time I have burnt them.” 

“ Since a certain time 1” exclaimed Cornelius, with 
a look In which love and joy were both beaming. 

Rosa, blushing, lowered her eyes, so that she did 
not observe Cornelius’s lips <' !r5'< < , and, alas ! 

they only met the cold grating. VcL, m spite of this 
obstacle, they communicated to the lips of the young 
girl the glowing breath of the most tender kiss. 

At this hot breath, which seemed to burn her lips, 
Rosa grew as pale, perhaps even paler than she had 
been at the Buytenhof on the day of the execution. 
She uttered a plaintive sob, closed her fine eyes, and 
fled, trying in vain to still the beating of her heart. 
Cornelius, again alone, could do naught but inhale 

Master and Pupil 12 1 

the sweet perfume left by her hair on the cruel 

Rosa had fled so precipitately that she completely 
forgot to return to Cornelius the three bulbs of the 
black tulip. 



The worthy Gryphus, as the reader must have 
seen, was far from sharing the kindly feelings of his 
daughter for the godson of Cornelius de Witt. 

As there were only five prisoners at Loewestein, the 
duty of watching them was not a very onerous one, 
and the post was a sort of sinecure, bestowed upon 
him in consideration of his age. 

But the worthy jailer in his zeal had magnified, 
with all the power of his imagination, the import- 
ance of the task imposed upon him. In his eyes, 
Cornelius assumed the gigantic proportions of a 
criminal of the first order. He looked upon him, 
therefore, as the most dangerous of all his prisoners. 
He watched his every movement, and always ap- 
proached him with a vinegary expression, punish- 
ing him for what he called his dreadful rebellion 
against the kind-hearted Stadtholder. 

Three times a day he entered Van Baerle's cell, 
expecting to detect him in some breach of the rules ; 
but Cornelius had renounced letter-writing since his 
fair correspondent was at hand. It is even probable 
that if Cornelius had obtained his full liberty, with 
permission to go wherever he liked, the prison, with 
Rosa and his bulbs, would have appeared to him 
preferable to any other habitation in the world, with- 
out Rosa and his bulbs. 

Rosa, in fact, had promised to come and talk with 
her dear captive at nine o’clock every evening, and on 
the first evening she kept her word as we have seen. 

122 The Black Tulip 

On the following evening she went up as before, 
with the same mysteriousness and the same precau- 
tion, But she had resolved, in her own mind, not 
to put her face too near the grating. In order, 
however, to engage Van Baerle at once in a con- 
versation which would seriously occupy his attention, 
she began by passing to him through the grating the 
three bulbs, which were still wrapped up in the same 

But to the great astonishment of Rosa, Van Baerle 
pushed back her white hand with the tips of his 

The young man had been considering what he 
should do. 

“ Listen, he said. ‘‘ I think we should risk too 
much by putting all our eggs in one basket. Re- 
member, my dear Rosa, that what we have to do 
is to accomplish something which until now has been 
considered impossible. We are to make the great 
black tulip flower. Let us, therefore, take every 
possible precaution, so that, in case of a failure, we 
may not have anything to reproach ourselves with. 
This is what I have thought would be the surest way 
for us to succeed/’ 

Rosa listened eagerly to what the prisoner went 
on to say, much more on account of the importance 
which the unfortunate tulip-fancier attached to it than 
from any conviction of her own as to its importance. 

^‘This is the way,” Cornelius continued, “in 
which I have thought we could best work together in 
this matter.” 

“ I am listening,” said Rosa. 

‘ ‘ There ought to be a little garden connected with 
the fortress, or if not a garden, a courtyard; or if 
neither garden nor courtyard, surely something in 
the way of a terrace.” 

“We have a very fine garden,” said Rosa; “it 
runs along the bank of tbe Waal, and is full of fine 
old trees. ” 

“ Could you bring me a little soil from the garden, 
dear Rosa, so that I may examine it?” 


Master and Pupil 

I will do so to-morrow.’^ 

Take some from a sunny and some from a shady 
spot, so that I may judge of its properties in a dry 
and in a moist state.’’ 

“ Rest assured I will do as you wish.” 

‘‘ After I have selected the soil, and, if necessary, 
modified it, we wall divide our three bulbs; you mull 
take one and plant it, on the day that I tell you, in 
the soil I have selected. It is sure to flower, if you 
tend it to my directions.” 

I will not lose sight of it for a minute. ” 

You will give me another, which I will try to 
grow here in my cell, and which will help me to 
beguile those long, weary hours when I cannot see 
you. I confess that I have very little hope of the 
last, and by anticipation, I regard the unfortunate 
bulb as sacrificed to my selfishness. However, the 
sun sometimes visits me. I will turn to account every 
possible bit of artificial heat, even that from my pipe 
and its hot ashes ; and lastly, we, or rather you, will 
keep in reserve the third bulb, as our last resource, in 
case our first two experiments should result in failure. 
In this manner, my dear Rosa, it is impossible that 
we should not succeed in winning the hundred 
thousand florins for our dowry, and in tasting the 
supreme delight of seeing our labours crowned with 
success. ’ ’ 

I understand,” said Rosa. I will bring you 
the soil to-morrow, and you shall select some for your 
bulb and for mine. As to yours, I shall have to make 
several trips for that, as I cannot bring much at a 

** There is no hurry, dear Rosa ; our tulips need not 
be put into the ground for a month at least. So you 
see we have plenty of time before us. Only I hope 
that in planting your bulb you will strictly follow all 
my instructions. ’ ’ 

** I promise you I will.” 

“ And when you have once planted it you will com- 
municate to me all the circumstances which may 
interest our nursling; such as change of weather, 

124 Black Tulip 

footprints on the walks, or footprints on the beds. 
You will listen at night to ascertain if our garden 
is not resorted to by cats. A couple of the wretched 
beasts rooted up and laid waste two of my beds at 

‘‘ I will listen/’ 

On moonlight < you ever looked at 

your garden, my dear child.''*’ 

“The window of my sleeping-room overlooks it,” 
“ Good ! On moonlight nights you must look and 
see v/hether any rats come out from the holes in the 
wall. The rats are terrible fellows for gnawing what- 
ever they come across ; and I have heard unfortunate 
tulip-growers complain most bitterly of Noah for 
having put a couple of rats in the ark. ’ ’ 

“ I will observe, and if there are cats or rats ” 

“ You will tell me of it — that’s right. And, more- 
over,” continued Van Baerle, in whom captivity had 
begotten distrust, “ there is an animal much more to 
be feared than even the cat or the rat. ” 

“ What animal do you mean?” 

“Man. You understand, my dear Rosa, that a 
man will steal a florin, and risk the galleys for such 
a trifle ; and, consequently, it is much more likely that 
some one might steal a bulb worth a hundred thou- 
sand florins.” 

“ No one ever enters the garden but myself.” 

“ Can you answer for that?” 

“ I swear it.” 

“ Thank you, thank you, my dear Rosa. Ah ! all 
my pleasure comes from you. ” 

And as the lips of Van Baerle approached the 
grating with the same ardour as the day before, and 
as, moreover, the hour had arrived for her to take her 
leave, Rosa drew back her head, and stretched out 
her hand. 

In this pretty little hand, of which the coquettish 
damsel was particularly proud, was the bulb. 

Cornelius kissed most tenderly the tips of the 
fingers of that hand. Was it because^ the hand still 
held one of the bulbs of the black tulip, or because 

Master and Pupil 125 

it was Rosa’s hand? We will leave this point to the 
decision of wiser heads than ours. 

Rosa withdrew with the two other bulbs, pressing; 
them to her heart. 

Did she press them to her heart because they were 
the bulbs of the great black tulip, or because they 
came to her from Cornelius ? 

This point, we believe, might be more readily 
decided than the other. 

However that may have been, from that moment 
life became sweet, and again full of interest to the 

Rosa, as we have seen, had handed him one of the 

Every evening she brought to him, handful by 
handful, a quantity of soil from that part of the 
garden which he had found to be the best, and which, 
indeed, was excellent. 

A large jug, which Cornelius had skilfully broken 
to suit his purposes, made an excellent fiower-pot. He 
half filled it, and mixed the earth which Rosa 
brought him with a little river-mud which he dried, — 
a mixture which formed a soil admirably adapted to 
his needs. 

Then, at the beginning of April, he planted his first 

We could never succeed in describing the pains and 
skilful strategy to which Cornelius resorted to con- 
ceal from Gryphus his delight with what he was 
doing. A half-hour is long enough for a philosophical 
prisoner to have a whole century full of thoughts and 

Not a day passed on which Rosa did not come to 
have her chat with him. 

The tulips, in the cultivation of which Rosa took a 
complete course, formed the principal topic of the 
conversation; but, interesting as the subject was, 
people cannot always talk about tulips. 

So they began to talk about other things as well, 
and the tulip-fancier found out, to his great astonish- 
ment, what a vast range of subjects a conversation 

126 The Black Tulip 

But Rosa had made it a rule to keep her pretty face 
six inches from the gratingf, for the beautiful g-irl had 
undoubtedly lost confidence in herself, since she had 
discovered how a prisoner's breath may set a 
maiden’s heart on fire. 

There was one thing especially which gave Cor- 
nelius almost as much anxiety as his bulbs, — a subject 
to which he always returned, — the dependence of 
Rosa on her father. 

On that account the very life of Van Baerle, the 
learned doctor of science, the picturesque artist, the 
man of genius, ^ — of Van Baerle, who could in all 
probability claim to be the discoverer of that chef 
d^ceuvre of creation which was to be called, in accord- 
ance with previous arrangement “ Rosa Barlasnsis,” 
— the life, yes, more than the life, the happiness of 
this man, depended absolutely on the mere whim of 
another man; and that other man was a being of a 
lower order, and of the meanest capacity, — a jailer, 
rather less intelligent than the lock in which he turned 
the key, and harder than the bolt he drew. It 
resembled the episode of Caliban in the “ Tempest,’^ 
— a struggle between a man and a brute. 

However, Van Baerle’s happiness was in his 
hands ; he might some fine morning find Loewestein 
dull, or the air of the place unhealthy, or the gin bad, 
and leave the fortress, and take his daughter with 
him, — when Cornelius and Rosa would again be 

God, who grows weary of doing too much for His 
creatures, might keep them apart for ever. 

Of what use would the carrier-pigeons then be?” 
said Cornelius to Rosa; “for then, my dear Rosa, 
you would not be able to read what I should write to 
you, nor to write to me your thoughts in return. ” 

Well,” answered Rosa, who in her heart was as 
much afraid of a separation as Cornelius himself, 
“we have an hour every evening; let us make the 
most of it.” 

“ I don’t think we make such a bad use of it, as it 

Master and Pupil 127 

‘‘ Let us employ it even better,” said Rosa, smiling. 
“ Teach me to read and to write; believe me, your 
lessons will not be thrown away, and in this way we 
shall never be separated any more, except by our 
own will ! ’ ^ 

“ Oh, then indeed we have eternity before us !” 
cried Cornelius. 

^ Rosa smiled, and made a most charming gesture of 

Do you propose to remain for ever in prison?” 
she retorted. ' ‘ After sparing your life, do you 
suppose that his Highness will not also restore your 
liberty? And will you not then recover your fortune, 
and be a rich man? And then, when you are once 
more free and prosperous, will you still deign to look, 
as you pass on horseback or in your carriage, at poor 
Rosa, the jailer’s daughter, which is next door to 
being the hangman’s daughter?” 

Cornelius tried to protest, and certainly he would 
have done so with all his heart, and with all the 
sincerity of a soul full of love. 

The damsel, however, interrupted him, asking 
with a smile, “ How is your tulip getting on?” 

To speak to Cornelius of his tulip was a sure way 
of making him forget everything, even Rosa herself. 

“Very well, indeed,” he said. “The pellicle is 
growing black; the sprouting has commenced; the 
veins of the bulb are swelling ; eight days hence, and 
perhaps sooner, we should be able to cislinguLh the 
presence of first buds. And yours, Rosa?” 

“Oh, I have done things on a large scale, and 
according to your directions. ” 

“ Now, let me hear, Rosa, what you have done,” 
said Cornelius, whose eyes glowed as eagerly and 
whose breath came as quickly as on the evening when 
those eyes had burned their way into Rosa’s thoughts, 
and that breath had left its mark upon her heart. 

“ Well,” she said, smiling, for in truth she could 
not help studying this double love of the prisoner for 
herself and for the black tulip, “ I have done things 
on a large scale. I have prepared a bed as you 


The Black Tulip 

described it to me, on a clear spot, far from trees 
and walls, in a soil slig-htly mixed with sand, rathei 
moist than dry, without a fragment of stone oi 

Well done, Rosa ! well done 
The soil thus made ready now awaits youi 
pleasure. The first fine day you will tell me to plant 
my bulb, I will plant it; you know that I must dc 
my planting much later than you, as I have in my 
favour all the chances of fresh air, of the sun, and 
abundance of moisture. ’ ’ 

‘‘True, very true,'' exclaimed Corneli - 
his hands with joy. “ You are a good ^ ^ \ \ 
and you are sure to win your hundred thousand 
florins. " 

“Don't forget," said Rosa, gaily, “that your 
pupil, as you call me, has still other things to learn 
besides the cultivation of tulips." 

“ Yes, yes; and I am as anxious as you are, Rosa, 
that you should learn to read." 

“ When shall we begin?" 

“ At once." 

“No, to-morrow." 

“ Why to-morrow?" 

“ Because to-day our hour has expired, and I must 
leave you. ' ' 

“ Already? But what shall we read?" 

“ Oh," said Rosa, “ I have a book, — a book which 
I hope will bring us good fortune." 

“To-morrow, then." 

“ Yes, to-morrow." 

On the Following evening Rosa returned with Cor- 
nelius de Witt's Bible. 



On the foilowino evening, as we have said, Rosa 
returned with Cornelius de Witt's Bible. 

The First Bulb 129 

Then began between the master and the pupil one 
of those charming scenes which are the delight of 
the novelist, when he can find an opportunity, in the 
course of his story, to describe them. 

The grated wicket, the only opening through which 
the two lovers were able to communicate, was too 
high for these good people — who had until then been 
content to read all that they had to say in each other’s 
eyes — to read conveniently from the book Rosa had 

Therefore she had to lean against the grating, hold- 
ing the book on a level with the taper which she held 
in her right hand, but which Cornelius luckily 
thought of fastening to the bars with a handkerchief, 
so as to afford her a little rest. Rosa was then able 
to follow with her finger the letters and syllables, 
which Cornelius made her spell out, while he with a 
straw pointed out the letters to his attentive pupil 
through the holes of the grating. 

The light of the lamp gave new brilliancy to Rosa’s 
rich colouring, to the sparkle of her deep blue eyes, 
and to the wealth of fair hair beneath her head-dress 
of polished gold, which the Frisian women, as we 
have said, had adopted. Her fingers being jfield up- 
wards, the blood left them, and they assumed that 
pale pink tirit which seems to shine in the light, and 
indicates the mysterious life which ebbs and flows 
beneath the flesh. 

Rosa’s intellect rapidly developed under the in- 
fluence of such animating contact with the mind of 
Cornelius ; and when the difficulties seemed too ardu- 
ous, then their eyes would meet in a long and loving 
gaze, their lashes would touch, and their hair would 
be mingled together, and electric sparks would be 
given off, sufficient to illuminate the dark recesses of 
an idiot’s brain. 

And Rosa, after she had returned to her room, 
repeated in her mind the reading lessons, and at the 
same time, in her heart, the unspoken lessons of love. 

One evening she came half-an-hour later than 
usual. This half-hour’s tardiness .was too extra- 


130 The Black Tulip 

ordinary an incident not to call forth at once in«* 
quiries from Cornelius as to its cause. 

“ Oh, do not be angry with me !*' she said, it is 
not my fault. My father has renewed his acquaint- 
ance here at Loewestein with an old fellow who used 
to come often at the Hague, to ask him to let him 
see the prison. He is a good sort of fellow, fond of 
his bottle, tells funny stories, and moreover is very free 
with his money, and always ready to pay his share. ’ * 

‘‘ You don’t know anything further of him?” asked 
Cornelius, surprised. 

No,” she answered; it’s only about a fortnight 
since my father has taken such a fancy to this friend 
who is so assiduous in visiting him.” 

Ah,” said Cornelius, shaking his head uneasily, 
as every new incident seemed to him to forbode some 
catastrophe, ‘ ‘ very likely some spy, one of those who 
are sent into jails to watch both prisoners and 

don’t believe that,” said Rosa, smiling; '‘if 
that man is spying after any one, it is certainly not 
after my father.” 

“ After whom, then?” 

” Me, for instance.” 

” You?” 

“ Why not?” laughed Rosa. 

” Ah, that’s true,” Cornelius observed, with a sigh. 
” You will not always keep suitors at a distance, 
Rosa, and this man may become your husband. ” 

” I don’t say no.” 

” Upon what do you base your anticipation of this 
happiness in store?” 

“ Say, rather, my dread of such an occurrence, 
Mynheer Cornelius.” 

“Thank you, Rosa, for you are right; your 
dread ?” 

“ Is based upon this ” 

“ Tell me; I am anxious to hear.” 

“ This man came several times to the Buytenhof, at 
the Hague ; and it was just at the time when you were 
confined there. When I left, he left too; when I 

The First Bulb 13 1 

came here, he came after me. At the Hague his 
pretext was that he wanted to see you.” 

See me — me, do you say?” 

“ Oh, a mere pretext, without any doubt; for now, 
when he could plead the same reason, as you are my 
father’s prisoner again, or rather as my father is your 
jailer again, he does not take any further interest in 
you; on the contrary, I heard him say to my father 
only yesterday that he did not know you. ” 

‘ ‘ Go on, Rosa, pray do, so that I may try to form 
some idea who the man is, and what he wants.” 

^ ‘ Are you quite sure, Mynheer Cornelius, that there 
is no one of your friends who may be interesting him- 
self in your behalf?” 

“I have no friends, Rosa; I have only my old 
nurse, whom you know, and who knows you. Alas ! 
poor Sue, she would come herself, and would resort to 
no tricks, but would say, weeping bitterly, to your 
father or to you, ‘ My good sir, or my good young 
lady, my child is here; see bow grieved I am; let me 
see him just for one hour, and FIl pray for you as 
long as I live.’ No, no,” continued Cornelius, with 
the exception of my poor old Sue, I have no friends. ” 

“ Then I come back to what I thought before ; and 
the more so, as last evening at sunset, while I was 
arranging the bed where I am to plant your bulb, I 
saw a shadow gliding between the elder-trees and the 
aspens. I did not appear to see him, but it was this 
man. He concealed himself and saw me turning up 
the earth, and certainly it was I whom he was follow- 
ing, and I whom he was spying after. I could not 
move my rake or touch a piece of dirt without his 
noticing it. ” 

‘‘ Oh, yes, yes ; he is in love with you !” said Cor- 
nelius. “ Is he young? is he handsome?” 

And he looked anxiously at Rosa, impatient for 
her answer. 

Young? handsome?” cried Rosa, laughing 
heartily. “ His face is hideous; he is crooked, and 
nearly fifty years of age, and never dares to look me 
in the face or to speak aloud.” 

“ And his name?” 

132 The Black Tulip 

“ Jacob Giseis.” 

“ I don’t know him.’’ 

‘‘ So you see that he does not come after you. ” 

‘‘ At all events, even if he does love you, Rosa, 
which is very likely (for to see you is to love you), you 
don’t love him, do you?” 

Indeed I don’t.” 

Then I may be easy in my mind?” 

“ I promise you that you may.” 

Well, then, now that you are beginning: to know 
how to read, you will read all that I write to you 
about the pangs of jealousy and of absence, won’t 
you, Rosa?” 

I will if you make good big letters. ” 

But the next moment she seemed to become a little 
uneasy at the turn the conversation was taking. So 
she changed the subject abruptly. 

“ By the bye,” said she, “ how is your tulip get- 
ting on?” 

“Oh, Rosa, imagine my delight; this morning I 
looked at it in the sun, after I had gently removed the 
soil which covers the bulb, and I saw the point of the 
first shoot. Ab, Rosa ! my heart fairly overflowed ; 
that almost imperceptible whitish bud, which a fly’s 
wing brushing against it would break off, that mere 
suspicion of a living organism which was revealed 
by an impalpable witness, moved me more deeply 
than did the reading of his Highness’s order which 
restored my life to me by turning aside the execu- 
tioner’s axe on the scaffold at the Buytenhof.” 

“ You have hopes, then?” said Rosa, smiling. 

“Yes, yes, I have indeed. ” 

“ And now tell me, when shall I plant my bulb?” 

“ Oh, the first favourable day I will tell you ; but it 
is of the utmost consequence that you let nobody help 
you, and confide your secret to no one in the world ; 
for, you see, a connoisseur, by merely looking at the 
bulb, would be able to discover its value ; and so, my 
dearest Rosa, be most especially careful of the third 
bulb which you still have, and which you must guard 
as the apple of your eve/’ 

“ It is still wrapped up in the same paper in which 

The First Bulb 133 

you put it, and just as you gave it me, Mynheer Cor- 
nelius, buried at the bottom of my chest under rny 
lace, which keeps it dry without pressing upon it. 
But good-night, my poor prisoner.” 

‘‘ What ! already?” 

'' Yes, I must.” 

Coming so late, and going so soon?” 

My father might grow impatient not seeing me 
return, and my lover might suspect a rival.” 

She paused a moment to listen anxiously. 

What is it?” asked Van Baerle. 

I thought I heard ''' “.c M-g.” 

What was It, pray?” 

“ So.TC'tiiing like a step creaking on the staircase.” 

'‘Surely,” said the prisoner, “ that cannot be 
Gryphus, for he can always be heard at a distance.” 

“ No, it is not my father, I am quite sure, but ” 

“ But?” 

‘‘ But it might be Mynheer Jacob.” 

Rosa rushed towards the staircase, and a door was 
actually heard to close hurriedly before the maiden 
had descended the first ten steps. 

Cornelius was very uneasy about it, but his troubles 
were only beginning. 

When one’s evil destiny is about to be fulfilled, it 
rarely happens that the victim is not forewarned of 
its approach, on the same principle of generosity 
which prompts the bully to give his adversary leisure 
to put himself on guard. 

Almost invariably such warnings, which are due to 
the human instinct, or to the complicity of inanimate 
objects, which are often not so inanimate as they are 
generally believed to be, — almost always such warn- 
ings are neglected. The whistle has sounded, and 
has fallen upon an unattentive ear, which should have 
taken alarm, and, having taken alarm, should have 
been forewarned. 

The foliov-ing day passed without any remarkable 
incident. Gryphus made his three visits and dis- 
covered nothing. 

When he heard the jailer approaching,— for Gry- 

134 The Black Tulip 

phus never came at the same hours, hopingf thus to 
discover the secrets of the prisoner, — when he heard 
the jailer approaching-, Van Baerle, by means of a 
contrivance of his own invention, which resembled 
those used to raise and lower bags of grain by 
farmers, had succeeded in arranging things so that he 
could suspend his jug below the ledge of tiles and 
stone beneath his window. The strings by which this 
was effected he had found means to cover with that 
moss which generally grew on the tiles, or in the 
crevices of the stonework. 

Gryphus suspected nothing, and the device suc- 
ceeded for eight days. One morning, however, when 
Cornelius, absorbed in the contemplation of his bulb, 
from which a bud was already peeping forth, had not 
heard old Gryphus coming upstairs, as a gale of wind 
was blowing which shook the whole tower, the door 
suddenly opened, and Cornelius was surprised with 
his jug between liis knees. 

Gryphus, perceiving an unkpown and consequently 
a forbidden object in the hands of his prisoner, 
pounced upon it with the same rapidity as the hawk 
on its prey. 

As ill-luck would have it, or the fatal address which 
the spirit of evil sometimes bestows upon the wicked, 
his coarse, hard hand, the same which he had broken, 
and which Cornelius van Baerle had set so well, fell 
full upon the middle of the jug at the very spot where 
the precious bulb was lying in the soil. 

What have you got here?^^ he roared. “Ah, 
have I caught you?’* and with this he plunged his 
hand in the soil. 

“ I ? Nothing, nothing, ’ ’ cried Cornelius , trembling. 

“ Ah, I have caught you I — a jug, and earth in 
it ! There is some criminal secret at the bottom of 
all this.” 

“ Oh, my good Master Gryphus,” said Van Baerle, 
imploringly, and as anxious as the partridge whose 
young have been stolen by the reaper. 

Gryphus, meanwhile, was digging away with his 
crooked fingers. 

The First Bulb 135 

Oh, Mynheer, Mynheer I take care!*’ said Cor- 
nelius, and every vestige of colour left his face. 

Take care of what? In God’s name, of what?” 
roared the jailer. 

Take care, I say, you will crush it!” 

And with a rapid and almost frantic movement he 
snatched the jug from the hands of Gryphus, and hid it 
like a precious treasure behind the bulwark of his arms. 

But Gryphus, obstinate, like an old man, and more 
and more convinced that he was unearthing a con- 
spiracy against the Prince of Orange, rushed up to his 
prisoner with his stick in the air; seeing, however, 
the unflinching resolution of the captive to protect his 
flower-pot, he was convinced that Cornelius trembled 
much less for his head than for his jug. 

He therefore tried to wrest it from him by force. 

“ Ah,” said the jailer, furious, ” this is downright 
rebellion, you know.” 

“ Let my tulip alone !” cried Van Baerle. 

” Oh, yes! your tulip, indeed I” replied the old 
man, ” we know all your tricks.” 

“ But I swear ” 

” Let go I” repeated Gryphus, stamping his foot; 
” let go, or I shall call the guard. ” 

“ Call whomever you like, but you shall not have 
this poor flower except with my life.” 

Gryphus, in his rage, plunged his fingers a second 
time into the soil, and drew out the bulb, which was 
quite black; and while Van Baerle, quite happy to 
have saved the vessel, did not suspect that the adver- 
sary had possessed himself of its precious contents, 
Gryphus dashed the soft bulb violently on the flags, 
where it was broken open, and almost immediately 
disappeared, crushed and ground to pulp beneath the 
jailer’s heavy boot. 

Van Baerle saw the work of destruction, got a 
glimpse of the moist ddbris, and, guessing the cause 
>f the ferocious joy of Gryphus, uttered a cry of 
igony, which would have melted even the adamant- 
ine heart of that ruthless jailer who some years 
before killed Pelisson’s spider. 

136 The Black Tulip 

The idea of striking down the cruel wretch passed 
like Lghtning through the brain of the tulip-fancier. 
The hot blood rushed to his head and blinded him ; 
and he raised in his two hands the jug heavy with 
all the useless earth which remained in it. One instant 
more, and he would have flung it at the bald head of 
old Gryphus. 

But a cry stopped him, — a cry of tearful agony, 
uttered by poor Rosa, who, trembling and pale, with 
her arms raised to heaven, made her appearance be- 
hind the grated window, and stood between her 
father and her friend. 

Cornelius let the jug fall, and it broke into a thou- 
sand pieces with a tremendous crash. 

Gryphus then understood the danger with which he 
had been threatened, and he broke out into a volley 
of the most terrible abuse. 

“ Indeed,*’ said Cornelius to him, ‘‘ you must be a 
cowardly wretch, to rob a poor prisoner of his only 
consolation, a tulip bulb.” 

“For shame, my father!” Rosa chimed in; it is 
a real crime that you have committed.” 

Ah, is that you, jade?” the old man cried, turn- 
ing upon her in a boiling rage; you just attend to 
your own affairs, and march downstairs as fast as 
ever you can.” 

‘‘ Alas ! unfortunate wretch that I am !” Cornelius 
repeated, in a tone of utter despair, 

** After all, it is only a tulip,” Gryphus resumed, 
a little shamefacedly. You may have as many 
tulips as you like; I have three hundred of them in 
my loft,” 

To the devil with your tulips !” cried Cornelius; 

you are worthy of each other. Had I a hundred 
thousand million of them, I would gladly give them 
for the one which you have just destroyed !” 

“ Ah, indeed !” cried Gryphus, triumphantly. Of 
course it was not your tulip you cared for. You 
know perfectly well that there was some magic about 
that false bulb, perhaps some means of correspond- 
ence with the enemies of his Highness, who gave 

Rosa’s Lover 137 

you your life. I always said they were wrong in not 
cutting your head off. ' ’ 

‘‘ Father, father!” cried Rosa. 

‘‘ Well, it’s ail right ! it’s all right !” said Gryphus, 
with increasing animation. I have destroyed it, 
and I’ll do the same again, as often as you repeat the 
trick. Didn’t I tell you, my fine fellow, that I would 
make your life a hard one?” 

A curse on you 1” Cornelius exclaimed hope- 
lessly, as he gathered with his trembling fingers the 
remnants of the bulb, the tomb of so much joy and so 
many hopes. 

We will plant the other to-morrow% dear Mynheer 
Cornelius,” said Rosa, in a low voice, for she under- 
stood the intense grief of the tulip-fancier, and poured 
these kind words, dear heart ! like a drop of balm on 
the bleeding wounds of Cornelius. 

Rosa’s lover 

Rosa had scarcely pronounced these consolatory 
words, when a voice was heard from the staircase,, 
asking Gryphus what was going on. 

‘‘ Do you hear, father?” said Rosa. 


“ Master Jacob is calling you; he is anxious.” 

“ There was such a noise,” said Gryphus, 
” wouldn’t you have thought that this confounded 
doctor was murdering me? Ah, what a peck of 
trouble one always has with these fellows that know 
so much I” 

Then pointing to the staircase, he said to Rosa, — 

“ You go first, young woman.” 

And as he closed and locked the door he con- 
tinued, — 

“ I will be there in a moment, friend Jacob.” 

Thereupon he took his departure, carrying his 

138 The Black Tulip 

daughter with him, and leaving Cornelius alone with 
his bitter grief, and muttering to himself, — 

“ Ah, you old hangman ! it is you who have mur- 
dered me; I shall not get over this.’’ 

And certainly the unfortunate prisoner would have 
fallen ill but for the counterpoise which Providence 
had granted to his grief, and which was called 


In the evening she came back. Her first words 
announced to Cornelius that henceforth her father 
would no longer make any objection to his cultivat- 
ing flowers. 

“And how do you know that?” the prisoner 
asked, with a doleful look. 

“ I know it because he has said so.” 

“To deceive me, perhaps.” 

“No, he repents of his violence.” 

“ Ah, yes ! but it’s too late.” 

“ This repentance is not his own idea.” 

“ Whose is it, pray?” 

“ If you only knew how his friend scolded him.” 

“Ah, Mynheer Jacob again! He hasn’t left you 
then, this Mynheer Jacob?” 

“ I assure you, he leaves us just as little as he can 

As she said this, she smiled in such a way that the 
little cloud of jealousy which had darkened the brow 
of Cornelius speedily vanished. 

“ How did it happen?” asked the prisoner. 

“ Well, being questioned by his friend, my father 
told at supper the whole story of the tulip, or rather 
of the bulb, and of his own fine exploit of crushing 

Cornelius heaved a sigh which might have been 
called a groan. 

“ If you only could have seen Master Jacob at that 
moment!” continued Rosa. “I really thought he 
would set fire to the castle; his eyes were like two 
flaming torches, his hair stood on end, and he 
clenched his fist; for a moment I thought he proposed 
to strangle my father. 

Rosa’s Lover 13c 

“‘You have done that!’ he cried, ‘you havt 

crushed the bulb ! ’ 

Indeed I have,’ was my father’s reply. 

^ It is infamous !’ shrieked Master Jacob; ‘ it is 
horrible I You have committed a great crime !’ 

“ My father was quite dumfounded. 

‘‘ ‘ Are you mad, too?' he asked his friend.’" 

"''‘Oh, what a worthy man is this Jacob!" mut- 
tered Cornelius, — " an honest heart, a man in a 

" The truth is, that it is impossible to treat a man 
more rudely than he did my father," continued Rosa. 
“ His trouble seemed to be quite genuine, and he kept 
repeating over and over again, — 

“ ‘ Crushed ! the bulb crushed I My God, my God ! 
crushed ! ’ 

" Then, turning towards me, he asked, ‘ But it was 
not the only one that he had?" " 

" Did he ask that?" inquired Cornelius, with some 

" ‘ You think it was not the only one?' said my 
father. * Very well, we will search for the others.' 

“ ‘You will search for the others?' cried Jacob, 
taking my father by the collar; but he immediately 
loosed him. 

“ Then he turned to me again, and asked, ‘ And 
what did the poor young man say?' 

“ I did not know what to answer, as you had so 
strictly enjoined me never to allow any one to guess 
the interest which you take in the bulb. Fortunately, 
my father relieved my embarrassment by answering 
for me, — 

“ ‘ What did he say? He began to foam at the 
mouth. ' 

“ I interrupted him. 

“ ‘ How could he have helped being in a rage,’ said 
I, ‘ when you were so harsh and so brutal ? ' 

“ ‘ Well, now, are you mad, too?' cried my father; 
‘ what a terrible misfortune it is to crush a tulip bulb ! 
Why, you can buy a hundred of them for a florin in 
the market of Gorcum.' 

140 ■ The Black Tulip 

“ ‘ B?it less valuable ones than that was !’ I in- 
cautiously replied/’ 

“ And what did Jacob say or do at these words?’’ 
asked Cornelius. 

“At these words, I must say his eyes seemed to 
flash fire.” 

“Yes,” said Cornelius, “but that was not all; I 
am sure he said something, too.” 

“ ‘ So then, my pretty Rosa,’ he said, with a voice 
as sweet as honey^ ‘ so you think that was a valuable 

‘ ‘ I saw that I had made a blunder. 

“‘What do I know?’ I said carelessly; 'do I 
understand anything of tulips? I only know, alas ! — 
for we are condemned to live side by side with 
prisoners — I know that for them any pastime is of 
value. This poor Mynheer van Baerle amused him- 
self with this bulb. Well, I say that it was sheer 
cruelty to take away his pla’vthmg. ’ 

“ ‘ But first of all,’ said my father, ' how did he 
procure this bulb? That would be a good thing to 
know, in my opinion.’ 

“ I turned my eyes away to avoid my father’s look; 
but in doing so I encountered Jacob’s gaze fixed upon 

‘ ‘ It seemed as if he were trying to read the very 
inmost thoughts of my heart. 

' ‘ Some little show of anger sometimes avoids the 
necessity of an answer. I shrugged my shoulders, 
turned my back, and moved towards the door. 

“But my steps were arrested by something I 
heard, although it was uttered in a very low voice. 

“Jacob said to my father, — 

“ ‘ It surely would not be very difficult to ascer- 
tain that. ’ 

“ ‘ Yes, we can search him, and if he has any more 
bulbs we shall find them. ’ 

“ ‘ That’s what you must do, for ordinarily three 
bulbs are raised at once.’ ” 

“ Three at once !” cried Cornelius. ” Did he say 
that I have three bulbs?” 

Rosa’s Lover 141 

** Well, you see his words made as much impres- 
sion on me as my repetition of them does on you. I 
turned round. They were both of them so deeply 
engaged in their conversation that they did not 
observe my movement. 

** ‘ But/ said my father, ‘ perhaps he has not got 
his bulbs about him?’ 

^ Then make him come down, under some pretext 
or other, and I will search his cell meanwhile- ’ ’ ’ 

‘‘Aha!” exclaimed Cornelius. “Your friend 
Jacob must be an infernal scoundrel !” 

“ I am afraid he is. ” 

“ Let me see, Rosa,” continued Cornelius, with a 
pensive air. 

“What is it?” 

“ Did not you tell me that on the day when you 
were preparing your bed, this man followed you?” 

“ Yes.” 

“ And that he glided like a shadow behind the 

“ Certainly.” 

“ So that not one of your movements escaped 

“ Not a single one.” 

“ Rosa,” said Cornelius, turning pale. 


“ It was not you he was after.” 

“ Who else, then?” 

“ It is not you that he is in love with !” 

“ With whom else, pray?” 

“ He was after my bulb, and is in love with my 
tulip !” 

“ Upon my word, it is very possible !” cried Rosa. 

“ Will you make sure of it?” 

“ How?” 

“ Oh, it would be very easy !” 

“Tell me how.” 

“Go to-morrow into the garden; try to arrange 
that Jacob may know, as he did the first time, that 
you are going there, and try to make sure that he 
follows you, as he did the first time. Make a pre- 

142 The Black Tulip 

tence of putting the bulb in the ground; leave the 
garden, but keep your eye on him, and see what he 

docs. ^ ^ 

‘‘ Well, and then?” 

“ Then we will govern our actions r ?cc 

‘"Oh,” said Rosa, with a sigh, ‘‘you are very 
fond of your bulbs, Mynheer Cornelius.” 

To tell the truth,” said the prisoner, sighing like- 
wise, “since your father crushed that unfortunate 
bulb, I feel as if part of my own self had been para- 

“ What do you say to trying another plan?” Rosa 
asked him. 

“What is it?” 

“ Why don’t you accept my father’s proposition?” 

“ What proposition?” 

“ Did he not offer you tulip-bulbs by hundreds?” 

“ Indeed he did.” 

“ Accept two or three, and, along with them, you 
may raise the third of your own bulbs. 

“ Yes, that would do very well,” said Cornelius, 
knitting his brow, “if your father were alone; but 
there is that other fellow, that wretch Jacob, watch- 
ing every movement we make.” 

‘ ‘ That is true ; but only think ! you are depriving 
yourself, I can see, of a very great pleasure. ” 

She pronounced these words with a smile which 
was not altogether without a tinge of irony. 

Cornelius reflected for a moment ; he evidently was 
g against some vehement desire. 

'* xNoI he cried at last, with the stoicism of a 
Roman of old ; no, it would be a weakness, it would 
be a folly, it would be cowardice ! If I thus gave up 
the last resource which we possess to the uncertain 
chances of anger and envy, I should never deserve to 
be forgiven. No, Rosa, no; to-morrow we will 
decide upon the spot for your tulip ; you will plant it 
according to my instructions; and as to the third 
bulb ” — Cornelius here heaved a deep sigh — “ as for 
the third, keep it in your chest; watch over it as a 
miser over his first or last piece of gold, as the 

Rosa’s Lover 143 

mother over her child, as the wounded man over the 
last drop of blood in his veins, — watch over it, Rosa I 
Some voice within me tells me that it will be cur 
salvation, and the source of wealth to us ! Watch 
over it ! ^ And even if the lightningf should strike 
Lcpwestein, give me your oath, Rosa, that you will 
seize and save this last of the bulbs which encloses 
the possibility of a black tulip in preference to your 
rings or your jewels or the pretty golden head- 
dress which frames your lovely features,* swear it,, 
Rosa I ’ ’ 

Be easy, Mynheer Cornelius,’* said Rosa, with a 
sweet mixture of melancholy and gravity ; “ be easy ; 
your wishes are law to me.” 

And even,” continued Van Baerle, warming 
more and more with his subject, ‘ * if you should per- 
ceive that you are followed, that your steps are 
watched, and that your speech has excited the sus- 
picion of your father, or of that wretched Jacob, 
whom I perfectly loathe, — ^well, Rosa, don’t hesitate 
for one moment to sacrifice me, who am only living 
now through your means ; me, who have no one in 
the world but you : give me up and come no more 
to see me. ’ ’ 

Rosa felt her heart sink within her, and her eyes 
were filling with tears. 

** Alas !” she said. 

“What is it?” asked Cornelius. 

“ I see one thing too clearly.” 

What do you see?” 

“ I see,” she said, sobbing as if her heart would 
break, ‘ * I see that you love your tulips so dearly that 
there is no room in your heart for other affection.” 

With this she fled. 

Cornelius, after this, passed one of the worst 
nights he ever had had in his life. 

Rosa was vexed with him, — and with good reason. 
Perhaps she would never return to see him, and then 
he would have no more news either of Rosa or of his 

Now, how can we explain such a character as this,. 

144 The Black Tulip 

entirely unprecedented among* the Simon-pure tulip- 
fanciers, a race which has ceased to exist? 

We have to confess, to the lasting* shame of our 
hero and of fioriculture in general, that of his two 
affections he felt most strongly inclined to regret 
that of the flesh; and when, at about three in the 
morning, he fell asleep, overcome with fatigue, tor- 
mented with dread, and torn with remorse, the great 
black tulip yielded precedence in his dreams to the 
sweet blue eyes of the fair-haired Frisian maid. 



But poor Rosa, in her secluded chamber, could not 
know of whom or of what Cornelius was . 

As a consequence of what he had said she was 
more ready to believe that his visions were of the 
black tulip than of her; and yet Rosa was mistaken. 

But as there was no one to tell her that she was 
mistaken, and as Cornelius's thoughtless words had 
fallen upon her heart like drops of poison, Rosa did 
not dream, but wept. 

The fact was, that as Rosa was a high-spi-Iled 
creature, of no mean perception and a noble heart, 
she took a very clear and judicious view of her own 
social position, if not of her moral and physical 

Cornelius was a scholar, and was wealthy, — at 
least he had been before the confiscation of his pro- 
perty ; Cornelius belonged to the merchant-bour- 
geoisie, who were prouder of their richly-emblazoned 
shop-signs than the hereditary nobility of their 
heraldic bearings. Therefore, although he might 
find Rosa a pleasant companion for the dreary hours 
of his captivity, when it came to a question of bestow- 
ing his heart, it was almost certain that he would 
bestow it upon a tulip, —that is to say, upon the 

The Maid and the Flower 145 

proudest and noblest of flowers, rather than upon 
poor Rosa, the jailer's lowly child. 

Thus Rosa understood Cornelius's preference of 
the tulip to herself, but was only so much the more 
unhappy therefor. 

During the whole of this terrible night the poor 
girl did not close an eye, and before she rose in the 
morning she had formed a resolution, — she had 
resolved to return to the grated window no more. 

But as she knew with what ardent desire Cor- 
nelius looked forward to the news about his tulip; 
as she did not choose to expose herself to the risk 
of continual meeting with a man for whom she felt 
her sense of pity increasing to such a degree that it 
had gone beyond mere compassion, and was advanc- 
ing by the straight road and with great strides 
towards passionate love ; as she did not, on the other 
hand, wish to drive him to despair, — she resolved to 
continue by herself the reading and writing lessons ; 
and, fortunately, she had made sufficient progress to 
dispense with the help of a master, provided that his 
name was not Cornelius. 

Rosa, therefore, applied herself most diligently to 
reading poor Cornelius de Witt's Bible, on the second 
leaf of which (become the first, since the other had 
been torn out) the last will of Cornelius van Baerle 
was written. 

Alas !" she muttered, when perusing again this 
document, which she never finished without a tear, 
love's pearl, rolling from her limpid eyes down her 
pale cheeks, — alas ! at that time I thought for one 
moment that he loved me. ’ ' 

Poor Rosa I she was mistaken. Never had the 
prisoner's feeling for her amounted to true, sincere 
love until the time at which we are now arrived, when, 
as we have said with some sense of embarrassment, 
in the contest between the black tulip and Rosa, the 
tulip had had to give way. 

But Rosa, we say again, knew nothing of the dis- 
comfiture of the great black tulip. 

Having finished her reading, a science in which 


146 - The Black Tulip 

she had made great progress, she took her pen and 
began, with as laudable diligence, the by far more 
difficult task of writing*. 

As, however, Rosa was already able to write 
almost legibly on the day when Cornelius so in- 
cautiously opened his heart, she did not despair of 
progressing quickly enough to write the prisoner how 
his tulip was faring in a week at the very latest. ^ 

She had not forgotten one word of the directions 
Cornelius had given her. In fact, Rosa never forgot 
a syllable that Cornelius addressed to her, even 
when what he said did not take the form of direc- 
tions about his bulbs. 

He, on his part, awoke more madly in love than 
ever. The tulip, indeed, was still a luminous and 
prominent object in his mind; but he no longer 
looked upon it as a treasure to which he ought to 
sacrifice everything, even Rosa, but as a valuable 
flower, a marvellous combination of nature and art, 
which God had given him for his beloved to wear in 
her bosom. 

Yet during the whole of that day he was haunted 
with a vague uneasiness. He resembled those men 
whose will is sufficiently strong to enable them to 
forget for the moment some great danger which is 
impending for the night or the, morrow. Their pre- 
occupation once overcome, their life goes on in its 
accustomed course. But from time to time the for- 
gotten danger gnaws at their heart with its sharp 
tooth. They start in alarm, ask themselves why 
they did so, and then, recalling what they had for- 
gotten, they say, sighing bitterly, Oh, yes, it's 
that!"" The “that" in Cornelius’s case was the 
fear lest Rosa might not come in the evening as 

As the evening approached, his pre-occupation be- 
came more and more acute and absorbing, until at 
last it assumed entire control of his whole body, and 
for the time was his whole life. 

Thus it was with a loudly-beating heart that he 
welcomed the darkness; and as it grew darker and 

The Maid and the Flower 147 

darker, the words which he had said to Rosa the 
evening' before, and which had so deeply afHicted her, 
came back to his mind more vividly than ever; and 
he asked himself how he could have told his gentle 
comforter to sacrifice him to his tulip, — that is to 
say, to give up seeing him if necessary, — whereas to 
him the sight of Rosa had become an essential con- 
dition of life. 

In Cornelius’s cell he could hear the hours strike 
on the clock of the fortress. Seven o’clock struck, 
then eight, then nine. Never did the clang of brass 
make a deeper echo in the heart of man than did the 
last stroke of the bell, marking the ninth hour, in 
the heart of Cornelius. 

All was then silent again. Cornelius put his hand 
on his heart to repress, as it were, its violent palpita- 
tion, and listened. 

The noise of Rosa’s footstep, the rustling of her 
gown on the staircase, were so familiar to his ear, 
that she had no sooner mounted one step than he 
would say to himself, — 

“ Here she comes 1” 

This evening no sound broke the silence of the 
corridor. The clock struck nine and a quarter ; tben 
two strokes sounded for the half-hour ; then the three- 
quarters; and at last its deep tone announced, not 
only to the inmates of the fortress, but also to ail 
the inhabitants of Loewestein, that it was ten o’clock. 

This was the hour at which Rosa generally parted 
from Cornelius. The hour had struck, but Rosa had 
not come. 

Thus, then, his foreboding had not deceived him. 
Rosa, in her annoyance, shut herself up in her room 
and left him to himself. 

“Alas!” said Cornelius to himself, ‘‘I have 
deserved all this. She will come no more; and she 
is right in staying away: in her place I should do 
just the same.” 

And nevertheless, Cornelius still listened, waited, 
and hoped. 

‘He listened and waited until midnight; but then he 

148 The Black Tulip 

gave up hope, and threw himself, dressed as lie was, 
upon his bed. 

It was a long and sad night for him ; day came at 
last, but day brought no hope to the prisoner. 

At eight in the morning, the door of his cell 
opened ; but Cornelius did not even turn his head : he 
had heard the heavy step of Gryphus in the corridor, 
but had felt perfectly sure that it was the step of 
only one person. 

He did not even so much as look at Gryphus. 

And yet he would have been so glad to ask him for 
news of Rosa. He was actually on the point of ask- 
ing the question, strange as it would have appeared 
to her father. He hoped— the selfish fehow ! — to 
hear from Gryphus that his daughter was ill. 

Except on extraordinary occasions, Rosa never 
came during the day. Cornelius, therefore, did not 
really expect her, as long as the day lasted. Yet his 
sudden starts, his listening at the door, his rapid 
questioning glances towards the wicket, showed that 
the prisoner entertained a vague hope that Rosa 
might depart from her regular custom. 

At Gryphus ’s second visit, Cornelius, contrary to 
all his former habits, asked the old jailer, with his 
most winning voice, about her health ; but Gip^phus, 
laconic as a Spartan, contented himself with the 
answer, — 

She’s all right !” 

At the third visit, Cornelius changed the form of 
his question. 

I hope nobody is ill at Loewestein?” 

Nobody,” replied Gryphus, even more sparing 
of his words than before, as he slammed the door in 
the prisoner’s face. 

Gryphus, being little used to such amenities on the 
part of Cornelius, saw in them the beginning of an 
attempt to bribe him. 

Cornelius was alone once more; it was seven 
o’clock in the evening, and the heartrending 
anguish of the evening before, which we have tried 
to depict, returned with even greater intensity. 

The Maid and the Flower 149 

But again the hours passed away without bringing 
the sweet vision which lighted up, through the 
wicket, the cell of poor Cornelius, and which upon 
retiring left light enough in his heart to last until 
it came back again. 

Van Baerle passed the night in an agony of 
despair. On the following day Gryphus appeared to 
him even more hideous, brutal, and hateful than 
usual. In his mind, or rather in his heart, he had 
cherished a hope that it was he who prevented his 
daughter from coming. 

He had a fierce desire to strangle Gryphus ; but if 
that were to come to pass, every law, divine and 
human, would have interfered to forbid his ever see- 
ing Rosa more. 

Thus the jailer escaped, without suspecting it, one 
of the greatest dangers that he had ever been threat- 
ened with during his whole life. 

The evening came, and his despair changed to 
melancholy, which was the more gloomy, because, 
in spite of himself, thoughts of his poor tulip would 
mingle themselves with Van Baerle mental suffer- 
ing. It was now just that part of April which the 
most experienced gardeners point out as the precise 
time when tulips ought to be planted. He had said 
to Rosa, — 

“ I will tell you the day when you are to put the 
bulb in the ground.’^ 

He ought, on the morrow, to fix the following 
evening for the time. The weather was propitious; 
the air, although still damp, began to be tempered 
by the pale rays of the April sun, which, being the 
first to come, are so welcome in spite of their pallor. 
Suppose Rosa should allow the right moment for 
planting the bulb to pass by 1 Suppose that, in addi- 
tion to the grief of seeing her no more, he should 
have to deplore the misfortune of seeing his tulip fail 
because it had been planted too late, or perhaps not 
at all ! 

These two vexations, combined, might well make 
him leave off eating and drinking. 

150 The Black Tulip 

This was the case on the fourth day. 

It was pitiful to see Cornelius, dumb with grief 5, 
and pale from utter prostration, stretch out his head 
through the iron bars of his window, at the risk of 
not being able to draw it back again, to try and get 
a glimpse of the garden on the left, spoken of by 
Rosa, who had told him that its wall bordered upon 
the river, in the hope of espying by the early rays of 
the April sun the maiden or the tulip, — ^his two lost 

In the evening, Gryphus took away his breakfast 
and dinner; he had scarcely touched them. 

On the following day he did not touch them at all, 
and Gryphus carried away the delicacies intended for 
those two meals quite untasted. 

Cornelius had remained in bed the whole day. 

said Gryphus, coming down from the 
last visit, “ I think we shall soon get rid of our 

Rosa was startled. 

“Nonsense,"" said Jacob, “what do you mean?"" 

“ He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t eat, he doesn’t 
leave his bed. Like Mynheer Grotius, he will leave 
here in a chest; only the chest will be a coffin,” 

Rosa grew as pale as death. 

“Ah,” she murmured, “I understand; he is 
worried about his tulip.” 

And rising with a heavy heart, she returned to 
her chamber, where she took a pen and paper, and 
during the whole of that night busied herself forming 

On the following morning, when Cornelius got up 
to drag himself to the window, he perceived a paper 
which had been slipped under the door. 

He pounced upon it, opened it, and read the 
following words, in a handwriting which he could 
scarcely have recognized as that of Rosa, so much 
had she improved during her short absence of seven 
days, — 

“ Never fear, your tulip is doing finely.” 

Although these few words of Rosa somewhat 

What had Taken Place 15 1 

soothed the grief of Cornelius, yet he was no less 
sensible of their bitter irony. Rosa, then, was not 
ill, but was hurt to the quick; she had not been 
forcibly prevented from coming, but had voluntarily 
sta3^ed away. Thus Rosa, being at liberty, had 
sufficient strength of will to abstain from coming 
to him, who was dying with grief for a sig'lit of 

Cornelius had paper and a pencil which Rosa had 
brought to him. He guessed that she expected an 
answer, but that she would not come before the 
evening to get it. He therefore wrote on a piece of 
paper, similar to that which he had received, — 

It is not my anxiety about the tulip that has 
made me ill, but my grief at not seeing you.^^ 

After Gryphus had made his last visit of the day 
and evening had come, he slipped the paper under 
the door, and listened. 

But listen as intently as he would, he heard neither 
Rosa’s footstep nor the rustling of her gown. 

He heard naught but a voice as light as a breath 
and sweet as a kiss, which whispered through the 
little wicket the word, — 

“ To-morrow. 

To-morrow — it was the eighth day. For eight 
days Cornelius and Rosa had not seen each other. 



On the following evening, at the usual hour,^ Van 
Baerle heard some one scratch at the little wicket, 
just as Rosa had been in the habit of doing in the 
happy days of their friendship. 

We may imagine that Cornelius was not far from 
the door, between the bars of which he at last saw 
again the lovely face which had disappeared from 
his life for so long. 

Rosa, who was waiting there, with a lamp in her 

i 52 The Black Tulip 

hand, could not restrain a startled movement when 
she saw how pale and sad he was. 

“Are you in pain. Mynheer Cornelius?’" she 

“ Yes, I am,” he answered, “ in pain of mind and 

“I saw that you did not eat,"" said Rosa; “my 
father told me that you remained in bed all day, so 
I wrote to you to ease your mind as to the fate of the 
precious object of your anxiety."" 

“ And I,"’ said Cornelius, “ I have given you my 
reply. Seeing you return, my dear Rosa, I thought 
you had received my letter."" 

“ It is true, I have received it."" 

“ You cannot this time excuse yourself by saying 
that you cannot read. Not only do you read very 
fluently, but also you have made marvellous progress 
in writing."" 

“ Indeed, I not only received your letter, but I 
read it, too. So I have come to see whether there is 
not some means of restoring you to health. " " 

“Restore me to health!’" cried Cornelius; “but 
have you any good news to tell me?” 

As he spoke, the youth fixed upon Rosa his eyes 
sparkling with hope. 

Whether she did not, or would not, understand 
this look, the maiden answered gravely, — 

“ I have no news except about your tulip, which 
is, I know, the object of your gravest anxiety.” 

Rosa pronounced these few words in a freezing 
tone, which cut deep into the heart of Cornelius. 
The zealous tulip-fancier did not understand all that 
this poor child, who was always at odds with her 
rival the black tulip, was striving to hide under the 
mask of indifference. 

“ Oh !” muttered Cornelius, “ again I again ! My 
God, Rosa, have I not told you that I thought but 
of you ; that it was you alone whom I regretted ; you 
alone whom I missed ; you alone who by your absence 
deprived me of air and light and warmth and life?” 

Rosa smiled with a melancholy air. 

What had Taken Place 153 

** Ah,” she said, “your tulip has been in great 
danger. ” 

Cornelius trembled involuntarily, and allowed him* 
self to be caught in the trap, if trap there were. 

“ Great danger!” he cried, trembling like a leaf; 
** in Heaven^s name, what danger?” 

Rosa looked at him with gentle compassion ; she 
felt that what she wished was beyond the power of 
this man, and that he must be taken as he was, 
foibles and all. 

“ Yes,” she said, “ you guessed aright; Jacob the 
wooer, Jacob the love-lorn swain, did not come here 
on my account.” 

“ What did he come for, pray?” Cornelius 
anxiously asked. 

“ He came for the sake of the tulip.” 

“ Alas !” said Cornelius, growing even paler at 
this piece of information than he had been when 
Rosa, by a misapprehension, had told him a fortnight 
before that Jacob was coming on her account. 

Rosa saw his alarm, and Cornelius guessed, from 
the expression of her face, that she was pursuing the 
line of thought we have indicated. 

“ Oh, pardon me, Rosa I” he said; “ I understand 
you, and I am well aware of the kindness and sin- 
cerity of your heart. To you God has given the wit 
and judgment, the strength and ability, to defend 
yourself ; but to my poor tulip, when it is in danger, 
God has given nothing of all this.” 

Rosa, without replying to the prisoner’s excuse, 
continued : — 

“ From the moment when I first knew that you 
were anxious on account of the man who followed 
me, and in whom I had recognized Jacob, I was even 
more anxious myself ; and so I did as you told me, 
on the day after that on which I saw you last, when 
you said ” 

Cornelius interrupted her. 

“Once more, pardon me, Rosa I” he cried. “I 
was wrong in saying to you what I said. I have 
asked your pardon for that unfortunate speech 

154 The Black Tulip 

before. I ask it again; shall I always ask it in 

‘'On the following day/' Rosa continued, "re- 
membering what you had told me about the strata- 
gem which I was to employ to ascertain whether that 
odious man was after the tulip, or after me— ” 

" Yes, yes, odious, indeed ! You hate him, don’t 

" I do hate him," said Rosa, "as he is the cause 
of all the unhappiness I have suffered these eight 
days. ’ ’ 

" Ah, have you also been unhappy? Thank you 
for that word, Rosa." 

“Well, on the day after that unfortunate one, I 
went down into the garden, and proceeded toward 
the bed where I was to plant your tulip, looking 
round all the while to see whether I was again 
follow^ed as I was before." 

" Well?" Cornelius asked. 

" Well, the same shadow glided between the gate 
and the wall, and once more disappeared behind the 
elder-trees. ’ ’ 

"You pretended not to see him, didn’t you?" 
Cornelius asked, remembering all the details of the 
advice he had given Rosa. 

"Yes; and I stooped over the bed and went to 
digging with a spade, as if I were going to put the 
bulb in." 

" And he — what did he do during all this time?" 

" I saw his eyes glisten through the branches of 
the tree, like those of a tiger." 

“ Do you see, do you see^" cried Cornelius. 

" Then, after having finished my make-believe 
ivork, I retired." 

" But only behind the garden-door, — is it not true, 
—so that you might see through the crack or the 
ieyhole what he did when you had left?" 

" He waited for a moment, very likely to make 
;ure of my not coming back; after which he sneaked 
>ut from his hiding-place, and approached the bed 
)y a long ditotir. At last, having reached his goal. 

What had Taken Place 155 

— ^that is to say, the spot where the ground was 
newly turned, — ^he stopped with a careless air, look- 
ing about in all directions, scanned every corner of 
the garden, every window of the neighbouring 
houses, and looked inquiringly at the earth and the 
sky; and thinking himself quite alone, quite isolated, 
and out of everybody’s sight, he rushed at the bed, 
plunged both his hands into the soft soil, took a 
handful of the mould, which he gently broke up 
between his fingers to see whether the bulb was in 
it, and repeated the same thing twice or three times, 
each time more eagerly than the last, — until at last, 
as it began to dawn upon him that he had been made 
the victim of a fraud, he struggled to calm the agita- 
tion which was raging in his breast, took up the 
rake, smoothed the ground, so as to leave it at his 
departure in the same state that it was before he had 
pulled it over, and quite shamefaced and sheepish, 
walked back to the door, affecting the unconcerned 
air of an ordinary promenaden” 

** Oh, the wretch r’ muttered Cornelius, wiping 
the perspiration from his brow, — ‘^oh, the wretch! 
I guessed his intentions. But the bulb, Rosa, — 
what have you done with it? It is already rather 
late to plant it, alas 

The bulb? It has been in the ground for these* 
six days. ” 

** Where and how?” cried Cornelius. Good 
Heaven, what imprudence! Where is it? In what 
sort of soil is it? Has it a good or bad exposure? Is 
there no risk of its being stolen by that detestable 

‘‘ There is no danger of its being stolen,” said 
Rosa, unless Jacob forces the door of my room.” 

“ Oh, then it is always under your eye; it is in 
your own room?” said Cornelius, somewhat relieved. 
“ But in what soil, in what kind of vessel? You 
don’t let it grow in water, I hope, like the good 
women of Harlem and Dort, who insist upon it that 
water will take the place of earth, — as if water, 
which is made up of thirty-three parts of oxygen and 

156 The Black Tulip 

sixty-six of hydrogen, could — But what am I saying, 

“Yes, it is rather deep for me,’' replied the 
maiden, with a smile. “ So I will content myself 
with replying, to set your mind at rest, that your 
bulb is not in water.” 

“ I breathe again.” 

“ It is in a good stone pot, just about the size of 
the jug in which you planted yours. The soil is com- 
posed of three parts of common mould taken from 
the best spot of the garden, and one of dirt from the 
street. Oh, I have heard you and that detestable 
Jacob, as you call him, so often talk about what is 
the soil best fitted for growing tulips, that I know 
it as well as the first gardener of Harlem. ” 

“And now about the exposure. What exposure 
has it, Rosa?” 

“ At present it has the sun all day long, — that is 
to say, when the sun shines. But when it once peeps 
out of the ground, and when the sun is hotter, I shall 
do as you did here, dear Mynheer Cornelius ; I shall 
put it on the sill of my eastern window from eight 
in the morning until eleven, and of my western 
window from three to five in the afternoon.” 

“ That’s it, that’s it !” cried Cornelius ; “ and you 
are a perfect gardener, my lovely Rosa. But I am 
afraid the nursing of my tulip will take up all your 

“Yes, it will,” said Rosa; “ but what matters it, 
for it is your tulip and my daughter. I shall devote 
my time to it as I would to my child, if I were 
a mother. It is only by becoming its mother,” 
Rosa added smilingly, “ that I can cease to be its 

“Dear, good Rosa!” murmured Cornelius, with 
a glance in which there was much more of the lover 
than of the gardener, and which afforded Rosa some 

Then, after a silence of some moments, during 
which Cornelius had tried to grasp Rosa’s fleeting 
hand through the grating, he said, — 

What had Taken Place 157 

So the buib has now been in the soil for six 

‘‘Yes, six days, Mynheer Cornelius," replied the 

“ And it does not yet show itself?" 

“ No; but I think it will to-morrow." 

“ Well, then, to-morrow you will bring- me news 
of it, and of yourself, won't you, Rosa? I am very 
anxious about the daughter, as you called it just 
now; but the mother is the object of a much deeper 
and different sort of interest to me." 

“To-morrow?" said Rosa, looking at Cornelius 
askance. “ I don’t know whether I shalf be able to 
come to-morrow." 

“ Good heavens !" said Cornelius, “ why can't you 
come to-morrow?" 

“ Mynheer Cornelius, I have a thousand things to 

“ While I have only one," muttered Cornelius. 

“ Yes," said Rosa, “ to love your tulip." 

“ To love you, Rosa." 

Rosa shook her head; again there was a pause. 

“Well," Cornelius at last broke the silence, — 
“ well, Rosa, everything changes in the realm of 
Nature ; the flowers of spring are succeeded by other 
flowers ; and we see the bees, which so tenderly 
caressed the violets and the wallflowers, flutter as 
lovingly about the honeysuckles, the rose, the jessa- 
mine, the chrysanthemum, and the geranium." 

“ What does all this mean?" asked Rosa. 

“ It means that you at first took pleasure in hear- 
ing me tell of my joy and my sorrow; that you 
caressed the flower of our youth, but now mine has 
faded in the shadow. The garden of hope and 
pleasure of a poor captive knows only one season. 
It is not like the lovely gardens which are open to 
the air and the sunlight. Once the May harvest is 
gathered, and the booty secured, bees like you, Rosa, 
— bees with slender bodies and golden antennae and 
diaphanous wings, — fly between the bars, leave the 
cold and solitude and gloom, to find elsewhere 

158 The Black Tulip 

sweet odours and the warm breath of summer 

'' Happy they, at last 

Rosa gazed at Cornelius with a loving smile which 
he did not see, for his eyes were raised toward 

He continued, sighing heavily, — 

“ You have abandoned me, Rosa, so that you may 
have your allotted four seasons of pleasure elsewhere. 
You have done well, and I will not complain. What 
claim have I to your fidelity?” 

‘‘ My fidelity !” Rosa exclaimed, with her eyes full 
of tears, and no longer caring to hide from Cor- 
nelius this dew of pearls rolling down her cheeks, — 
'‘my fidelity ! have I not been faithful to you?” 

“ Alas ! do you call it faithful to desert me, and to 
leave me here to die?” 

“ But, Mynheer Cornelius,” said Rosa, “ am I not 
doing everything for you that could give you plea- 
sure? Have I not devoted myself to your tulip?” 

“You are bitter, Rosa; you taunt me with the 
only unalloyed pleasure I have had in this Vv^orld. ” 

“ I taunt you with nothing, Mynheer Cornelius, 
except, perhaps, with the intense grief which I felt 
when they told me at the Buytenhof that you were 
about to be put to death.” 

“ You are displeased, Rosa, my sweet Rosa, with 
my intense love for flowers.” 

“ I am not displeased with your love for them, 
Mynheer Cornelius; only it makes me sad to think 
that you love them better than you do me.” 

“ Oh, my dear, dear beloved, see how my hands 
tremble I see how pale my cheek is, and hear how my 
heart beats I Oh, well, it is not because my black 
tulip is smiling upon me and calling me, — no; it is 
because you are smiling upon me, you, my beloved, 
and because you are leaning towards me; it is 
because — I do not know if it be true — but because it 
seems to me that even while avoiding them, your 
hands long to clasp mine, and because I feel the 
warmth of your dear, soft cheeks behind the cruel 

What had Taken Place 159 

bars. Rosa, my love, destroy the bulb of the black 
tulip, destroy all hope of seeing that flower bloom, 
extinguish the pleasant light of the pure and sooth- 
ing fancy which I have become used to dreaming 
every day. So be it 1 No more flowers with their 
lovely bright robes, their graceful elegance, their 
capricious charm; take it all away, O thou flower 
who art jealous of thy sisters, — take it all away, but 
leave me, I beseech, your voice and your face, the 
sound of your step on the staircase; leave me the 
light of your eyes in the dark corridor, and the 
assurance of your love which pours g balm 

into my heart. Love me, Rosa, love me, for I am 
sure that I love but you V* 

Yes, after the black tulip,** sighed the maiden, 
whose warm, soft hands at last abandoned them- 
selves through the graacg to the lips of Cornelius. 
Before c"' c/Vilr i<r, Rosa.** 

** Can I believe you?** 

** As you believe in God.** 

Weil then, be it so; but loving me does not bind 
you to much.** 

*^Very little, unfortunately, dear Rosa; but it 
binds you, remember.** 

Me ! to what does it bind me, pray?** asked 

“ First of all, not to marry.** 

She smiled. 

“ Ah,’* she said, “ what tyrants you all are ! You 
worship a beautiful creature ; you think and dream of 
nothing but her; you are condemned to death, and 
on your way to the scaffold you devote to her your 
last sigh; and now demand that I, poor girl, should 
sacrifice all my dreams and my ambition.” 

But what beautiful creature are you talking 
about, Rosa, I beg to know?** said Cornelius, search- 
ing his memory in vain for a woman to whom Rosa 
might cossibly be alluding. 

“ Why, the dark beauty, Mynheer, — the dark 
beauty with the graceful form, delicate feet, and 
noble held; in short, 1 am speaking of your flower.” 

i6o The Black Tulip 

Cornelius smiled. 

“That is an imaginary lady-love, dear Rosa; 
whereas, without counting your, or rather my amor- 
ous friend Jacob, you are surrounded by gallants 
eager to make love to you. Do you remember, Rosa, 
what you told me of the students, officers, and clerks 
of the Hague? Are there no clerks, officers, or 
students at Lcewestein?’’ 

“ Indeed there are, plenty of them.’^ 

“ Who write letters ?*' 

“ Who write letters.’' 

“ And now that you know how to read ” 

Here Cornelius heaved a sigh at the thought that, 
poor captive as he was, to him alone Rosa owed 
the faculty of reading the love-letters which she 

“ Ah,” said Rosa, “ it seems to me that in read- 
ing the notes addressed to me, and carefully scrutiniz- 
ing the gallants who present themselves, I am only 
f - * ■‘'j; your instructions. ” 

* .iswso? My instructions?” 

“Yes, your instructions,” said Rosa, sighing in 
her turn; “have you h'. the will written by 
your hand in the Bible of Cornelius de Witt? I have 
not forgotten it; for now that I know how to read, 
I read it every day, and twice a day oftener than 
once. In that will you bid me love and marry a 
handsome young man of twenty-six or eight years. 
I am on the look-out for that young man ; and as the 
whole of my day is taken up with your tulip, you 
must leave my evenings free to find him.” 

“ But, Rosa, the will was made in the expectation 
of death, and, thank Heaven, I am still alive.” 

“ Weil, then, I will not look for the handsome 
young man of twenty-six or twenty-eight, and I will 
come and see you.” 

“ Ah, do, Rosa ! Come, come !” 

“ On one condition!” 

“ Granted beforehand!” 

“ That the black tulip shall not be mentioned for 
the next three days.” 

The Second Bulb i6i 

It shall never be mentioned any more if you wish 
it, Rosa.’' 

Oh,’^ the damsel said, “ I will not ask for im- 

As she spoke she put her fresh cheek, as if uncon- 
sciously, so near the iron grating that Cornelius was 
able to touch it with his lips. 

Rosa uttered a little exclamation of love, and dis- 



It was a beautiful night, and the next day was 
finer still. 

During the last few days the prison had been dull 
and dark and dismal; it bore heavily with all its 
weight on the unfortunate captive. Its walls were 
black, its air chilling ; the iron bars seemed so close 
together as scarcely to admit the daylight. 

But when Cornelius awoke, a beam of the morning 
sun was playing among the iron bars ; pigeons were 
hovering about with outspread wings, and others 
were lovingly cooing on the roof near the still closed 

Cornelius ran to the window and opened it; it 
seemed to him as if life and joy, and almost liberty, 
entered his gloomy cell with the ray of sunlight. 
Love was blooming there, and causing everything 
about it to bloom as well, — ^love, that heavenly flower 
with a radiance and a perfume far different from all 
the flowers of earth ! 

When Gryphus entered the prisoner’s cell, instead 
of finding him sullen and still in bed, as on other 
occasions, lo ! he was standing at the window, and 
singing a little air from some opera. Gryphus looked 
at him surlily. 

“ Halloa 1” he exclaimed. 

“ How are you this morning?” asked Cornelius. 

Again Gryphus scowled at him. 

1 62 The Black Tulip 

“ And the dog- and Master Jacob and our fair Rosa 
— ^how are they all?” 

Gryphus ground his teeth. 

‘‘ Here is your breakfast,” he growled. 

Thank you, friend Cerberus,” said the prisoner 
** you are just in time, for I am very hungry.” 

Oh, you’re hungry, are you?” said Gryphus. 

“ Why not, pray?” asked Van Baerle. 

‘‘The conspiracy seems to be prospering,” re 
marked Gryphus. 

“ What conspiracy?” 

“ Oh, yes ! I know what they all say; but we wil 
keep a good watch, my learned friend, — never fear 
we will keep a good watch. ’ ’ 

“Watch away, friend Gryphus, watch away; m] 
conspiracy, as well as my person, is entirely at you 
service. ’ ’ 

“We’ll see about that this noon.” 

With this Gryphus left the room. 

“ This noon !” repeated Cornelius. “ What doei 
that mean? Well, let us wait until noon, and thei 
we shall see.” 

It was very easy for Cornelius to wait for noon, foi 
he was waiting for nine at night. 

It struck twelve, and he heard on the staircase no 
only the steps of Gryphus, but with them those o 
three or four soldiers who were coming up with him, 

The door opened, Gryphus entered, led his men in 
and shut the door after them. 

“ There, now search !” 

They searched Cornelius’s pockets, and also be 
tween his jacket and his waistcoat, between his waist 
coat and his shirt, and beneath his shirt ; they founc 

They then searched the sheets, the mattress, anc 
the straw of his bed, and again they found nothing. 

Great was the silent satisfaction of Cornelius thal 
he had not taken the third bulb under his own care. 
Gryphus would have been sure to ferret it out in the 
search, however carefully it was concealed, and v/oulc 
then have treated it as he did the first. 

The Second Bulb 163 

As it was, no prisoner ever looked on at the 
execution of a search-warrant in his cell with more 
serenity than Cornelius exhibited on this occasion. 

Gryphus retired with the pencil and the two or 
three leaves of white paper which Rosa had given to 
Van Baerle; this was the only trophy brought back 
from the expedition. 

At six Gryphus came again, but alone. Cornelius 
tried to propitiate him ; but Gryphus growled, showed 
a great fang which he had in the corner of his mouth, 
and went out backward like a man who is afraid of 
being attacked from behind. 

Cornelius burst out laughing; whereupon Gryphus, 
who had read somewhat, shouted at him through the 

“All right, all right! ‘He laughs best who 
laughs last.' " 

Cornelius laughed last, — on that occasion at least, 
for he was expecting Rosa. 

Rosa came at nine. She was wuthout a lantern. 
She no longer needed a light, for she knew how to 
read; moreover, the light might betray her, as Jacob 
kept a more persistent * than ever upon her ; 

and lastly, in the light ner tiusned cheeks would have 
been too perceptible when she blushed. 

Of what did the young people talk that evening? 
Of those matters of which lovers talk at the house- 
doors in France, on opposite sides of a balcony in 
Spain, and from the top to the bottom of a terrace in 
the Orient. 

They talked of those things which add wings to 
the feet of the hours, and put additional feathers into 
the wings of time. 

They talked of everything except the black tuHp. 

At last, when the clock struck ten, they parted as 

Cornelius was happy, — as thoroughly happy as a 
tulip-fancier could be who had had no chance to talk 
about his tulip. 

He found Rosa as fair as all the loves; he found 
her sweet and lovely and charming. 

164 The Black Tulip 

But why did Rosa object to the tulip being men- 
tioned ? 

This was indeed a great defect in Rosa. 

Cornelius confessed to himself, with a sigh, that 
woman was not perfect. 

Part of the night he thought of this imperfection, — 
that is to say, as long as he was awake he thought 
of Rosa. 

After he fell asleep he dreamed of her. 

But the Rosa of his dreams was by far more per- 
fect than the Rosa of real life. Not only did she 
speak of the tulip, but she brought him a magnificent 
black one in a china vase. 

Cornelius awoke trembling with joy, and whisper- 

‘‘ Rosa, Rosa, I love you !** 

And as it was already day he thought it best not 
to fall asleep again ; so he passed the whole day dwell- 
ing upon the thought that was in his mind when he 

Ah, if Rosa had only conversed about the tulip, 
Cornelius would have preferred her to Semiramis or 
Cleopatra, to Queen Elizabeth or Anne of Austria, — 
that is to say, to the greatest or most beautiful 
queens whom the world has seen. 

But Rosa had forbidden it under pain of not return- 
ing. Rosa had forbidden the least mention of the 
tulip for three days. 

That meant seventy-two hours given to the lover 
to be sure ; but it was seventy-two hours stolen from 
the horticulturist. 

^ It was true that of the seventy-two hours, thirty- 
six had passed already ; and the remaining thirty-six 
would pass quickly enough,- -eighteen in waiting 
for the evening’s interview, and eighteen in think- 
ing about it. 

Rosa came at the same hour ; and Cornelius under- 
went his penance most heroically. He would have 
made a most eminent Pythagorean, would Cor- 
nelius; and if he might only have inquired about 
his tulip once a day, he would have willingly gone 

The Second Bulb 165 

five years, according- to the statutes of the order, 
without talking at all. 

His fair visitor, however, was well aware that 
when one’s orders are obeyed on one point one must 
yield on another; therefore Rosa allowed Cornelius 
to draw her hands through the little window and to 
kiss her golden locks through the bars. 

Poor child ! all these little lovers’ tricks were much 
more dangerous than speaking of the tulip. She 
became aware of the fact when she returned to her 
room with a beating heart, glowing cheeks, burning 
lips, and moist eyes. 

And soon the following evening, after the first 
greetings and endearments, she looked at him 
through the bars in the darkness, with the expres- 
sion which one can feel even when one does not see it. 

Well,” she said, ** it has come up.” 

“It has come up! Who? What?” asked Cor- 
nelius, hardly daring to believe that Rosa would of 
her own accord abridge the term of his probation. 

“ The tulip,” said Rosa. 

“What!” cried Cornelius; “you give me per- 
mission, then?” 

“ Oh, yes !” Rosa replied, in the tone of an affec- 
tionate mother when she allows her child to indulge 
some wish. 

“Ah, Rosa!” said Cornelius, putting his lips to 
the grating, with the hope of touching a cheek, a 
hand, a forehead, — anything, in short. 

He touched something much better, — ^two warm 
and half-open lips. 

Rosa uttered a slight scream. 

Cornelius understood that he must make haste to 
continue the conversation. He guessed that this un- 
expected kiss had frightened Rosa. 

“ Is it growing up straight?” he asked. 

“ Straight as a Frisian distaff,” said Rosa. 

“ How high?” 

“ At least two inches.” 

“ Oh, Rosa, take good care of it, and you will see 
how fast it will grow.” 

“ I think 

i66 The Black Tulip 

“ Can I take more care of it?’’ said she. 

of nothing else.” 

nothing else, Rosa? Take care, or I shall 
take my turn at being jealous.” 

‘‘Oh, you know that to think of the tulip is to 
think of you. I never lose sight of it ; I see it from 
my bed, — when I awake it is the first object that 
meets my eyes, and the last on which they rest before 
I fall asleep ; during the day I sit and work by its 
side, for I have hardly left my chamber since i put 
it there.” 

“You are right, Rosa; it is your dowry, you 
know. ’ ’ 

“Yes; and, thanks to it, I may marry a young 
man of twenty-six or twenty-eight years, with whom 
I shall fall in love.” 

“ Hush, you bad girl!” 

That evening Cornelius was the happiest of men. 
Rosa allowed him to hold her hand as long as he 
chose to keep it ; and he talked about his tulip to his 
heart’s content. 

From that hour every day marked some progress 
in the growth of the tulip and in the affection of the 
two young people. At one time the news was that 
the leaves had expanded, and at another that the 
flower Itself had formed. 

Great was the joy of Cornelius at this news; and 
his questions succeeded each other with a rapidity 
which gave proof of their importance. 

“Formed!” exclaimed Cornelius; “has it really 

“ It has,” repeated Rosa. 

Cornelius trembled so with joy that he was obliged 
to hold by the grating. 

“ Good heavens 1” he exclaimed. 

Then he turned to Rosa again, — 

“ Is the oval regular, the cylinder full, and are 
the points very green?” 

“ The ova! is almost one inch long, and as slender 
as a needle, the cylinder swells at the sides, and the 
points ate ready to open ” 

The Second Bulb 167 

That nigfht Cornelius scarcely slept ; for the moment 
when the points were about to open was one of 
supreme importance. 

Two days later Rosa announced that they were open. 

"'Open, RosaT’ cried Cornelius, "the involucre 
is open? But in that case, do you see, can you 
make out ’’ 

Here the prisoner paused, gasping for breath. 

" Yes,” answered Rosa; " I can already make out 
a thread of different colour, as thin as a hair/’ 

"And its colour?” asked Cornelius, trembling. 

" Oh,” answered Rosa, "it is very deep.” 

" Brown?” 

" Deeper than that.” 

" Deeper, good Rosa, deeper? Thank Heaven ! 
Deep as ebony? deep as ” 

" Black as the ink with which I wrote to you.” 

Cornelius uttered a cry of mad joy. 

Then suddenly stopping and clasping his hands, 
he said, — 

" Oh, there is not an angel in heaven to be com- 
pared to you, Rosa !” 

" Really !” said Rosa, smiling at his exaltation. 

' ‘ Rosa, you have worked with such ardour ; you 
have done so much for me ! Rosa, my tulip is about 
to flower, and its flower will be black 1 Rosa, Rosa, 
you are the most perfect of God’s creatures !” 

" Next to the tulip, you mean.” 

"Ah, be quiet, you rogue, be quiet, and in pity’s 
name do not spoil my pleasure ! But tell me, Rosa, 
as the tulip is so far advanced, it will flower in two 
or three days at the latest?” 

"To-morrow, or the day after.” 

"Ah, and I shall not see it!” cried Cornelius, 
starting back; " I shall not kiss it, as a wonderful 
work of the Almighty which one should adore, — as I 
kiss your hand and your cheek, Rosa, when by 
chance they are near the grating. ” 

Rosa advanced her cheek, not by chance, but by 
design, and the young man’s lips eagerly fastened 
upon it. 

i68 The Black Tulip 

Faith, I will cut it, if you say so.’’ 

** Oh, no, no, Rosa! When it is open, place it 
carefully in the shade, and immediately send a mes- 
sage to Harlem to give notice to the president of the 
Horticultural Society that the great black tulip is 
in flower. I know it is far to Harlem; but with 
money you will find a messenger. Have you any 
money, Rosa?” 

Rosa smiled. 

‘‘ Oh, yes !” she said. 

** Enough?” asked Cornelius. 

I have three hundred florins.” 

“ Oh, if you have three hundred, you must not 
send a messenger, but you must go to Harlem your- 
self, — ^yourself, Rosa!” 

“ But what is to become of the flower mean- 

Oh, the flower you must take with you; for you 
understand that you must not let it out of your sight 
for an instant. ’ ’ 

“ But in keeping sight of the tulip I lose sight of 
you. Mynheer Cornelius.” 

‘‘ Ah, that’s true, my dear, sweet Rosa. Oh, my 
God, how wicked men are ! What have I done to 
them, and why have they deprived me of my liberty? 
You are right, Rosa, — I cannot live without you. 
Well, you will send some one to Harlem ; that’s 
settled. Upon my soul, it’s enough of a miracle for 
the president to put himself to some trouble ! He 
will come himself to Loewestein to see the tulip.” 

Then suddenly checking himself, he murmured, 
with a faltering voice, — 

” Rosa, Rosa, suppose it should not be black, after 

“ Oh, you will know surely to-morrow or the day 
after, in the evening.” 

To have to wait until evening to know it, Rosa ! 
I shall die with impatience. Could we not agree 
about a signal?” 

” I will do better than that.” 

What will you do?” 

The Blooming of the Flower 169 

If it opens at night, I will come and tell you 
myself; if it is in the daytime, I will pass your door, 
and slip a note either under the door or through the 
grating during the time between my father’s first 
and second visit.” 

‘‘ Oh, yes, let us leave it so, Rosa ! To learn the 
glad news by a word from you will be a double happi- 

There, it’s ten o’clock,” said Rosa, “ and I must 
leave you. ” 

Yes, yes !” said Cornelius; “ go, Rosa, go!” 

Rosa withdrew, almost sadly ; for Cornelius had all 
but sent her away. 

To be sure he did it so that she might watch over 
the black tulip I 



Cornelius passed a pleasant night, but one of 
great excitement. Every instant he fancied he heard 
the gentle voice of Rosa calling him. He would 
awake with a start, rush to the door, and put his 
face to the grating; but no one was behind it, and 
the corridor was empty. 

Rosa, no doubt, was watching too; but, more for- 
tunate than he, she was watching over the tulip ; she 
had before her eyes that noble flower, that wonder of 
wonders, which not only was unknown theretofore, 
but was even thought impossible of attainment. 

What would the world say, when it was known 
that the black tulip was found, that it existed, and 
that it was the prisoner Van Baerle who had found 

How Cornelius would have spurned the offer of his 
liberty in exchange for his tulip ! 

Day came, without any news; the tulip was not 
yet in flower. 

1 70 The Black Tulip 

The day passed like the nigfht; night came, and 
with it Rosa, joyous and cheerful as a bird, 

‘‘ Well?^’ asked Cornelius. 

Well, all is going on prosperously. This night, 
without any doubt, your tulip will be in flower. ’ ’ 

And will it be black?’’ 

Black as jet.” 

“ Without a speck of any other colour?” 

Without one speck.” 

“ Oh, how kind is Heaven ! My dear Rosa, I have 
been dreaming all night, in the first place, of you ” 
(Rosa made a sign of incredulity), ‘‘ and then of 
what we must do.” 


“Weil, this is what I have decided on : the tulip 
once being in flower, when it is quite certain that it 
is black, and absolutely black, you must find a mes- 

“If that is all, I have found a messenger 
already. ’ ’ 

“ Is he reliable?” 

“ One for whom I will answer; he is one of my 
lovers. ’ ’ 

“ I hope not Jacob.” 

“No, never fear; it is the ferryman of Loewestein, 
— a smart young fellow of twenty-five or six.” 

“The devil 1” 

“Don’t be alarmed,” laughed Rosa; “he is still 
under age, for you yourself fixed it at from twenty- 
six to twenty-eight.” 

“But do you think you can rely on this young 

‘ ‘ As surely as on myself ; he would throw himself 
from his boat into the Waal or the Meuse as I chose, 
if I bade him.” 

“Well, Rosa, this lad can be at Harlem in ten 
hours. You will give me paper and pencil, or better 
still, pen and ink, and I will write, or rather, on 
second thoughts, you must, for if I did it, being a 
poor prisoner, people might, like your father, see a 
conspiracy in it, — ^you will write to the president of 

The Blooming of the Flower 171 

the Horticultural Society, and I am sure lie will 

“ But if he delays?’’ 

Well, let us suppose that he delays one day, or 
even two ; but it is impossible. A tulip-fancier, such 
as he is, will not delay one hour, not one minute, not 
one second, to set out to see the eighth wonder of 
the world. But, as I said, if he did delay one or even 
two days, the tulip will still be in its full splendour. 
The flower having once been seen by the president, 
and the official report drawn up by him, everything 
will be complete; you will keep a duplicate of the 
report, and entrust the tulip to him. Ah, if we had 
been able to carry it ourselves, Rosa, it would never 
have left my hands but to pass into yours ! But this 
is a dream which we must not entertain,” continued 
Cornelius, with a sigh; other eyes will see dt 
flower. Above all, Rosa, before the president has 
seen it, let it not be seen by any one. The black 
tulip — Great God, if any one saw the black tulip, it 
would be stolen 1” 

.. Oh!” 

Did you not tell me yourself what you appre- 
hended from your love-sick Jacob? People will steal 
one florin, why not a hundred thousand?” 

I will watch, never fear !” 

“ But suppose it opened while you are here?” 

“ The capricious creature would indeed be quite 
capable of it,” said Rosa. 

“ And if on your return you find it open?” 


“ Oh, Rosa, whenever it opens, remember that 
not a moment must be lost in letting the president 
know. ’ ’ 

“ And you as well. Yes, I understand.” 

Rosa heaved a sigh, entirely without bitterness, 
but like a woman who at last begins to comprehend 
the weakness of one she loves, even though she can- 
not accustom herself to it. 

“Now I am going back to your tulip, Mynheer 
van Baerie, and the instant it opens you shall be 

172 The Black Tulip 

informed; and then the messenger can start at 

“ Oh, Rosa, Rosa, Tm sure I don’t know to what 
one of all the marvels of heaven or earth to liken 

Liken me to the black tulip, Mynheer Cornelius, 
and I shall feel highly flattered, I assure you. Now 
we must say au revoir, Mynheer Cornelius.” 

Oh, say, * Au revoir, my friend !’ ” 

/Iw revoify my friend,” said Rosa, somewhat 

“ Say, * My beloved friend !’ ” 

“ Oh, my friend ” 

Beloved, Rosa, I entreat you ! Beloved, beloved, 
am I not?” 

“ Beloved? Yes, — beloved,” said Rosa, almost 
light-headed with joy. 

'‘And now that you have said ‘beloved,’ dear 
Rosa, say also ‘ most happy ; ’ say ‘ happier and more 
blessed than ever man was under the sun.’ I only 
lack one thing, Rosa.” 

“ And that is?” 

“ Your cheek, — ^your fresh cheek, your soft, rosy 
cheek. Oh, Rosa, give it me of your own free will, 
and not by chance. Ah !” 

The prisoner’s prayer ended in a sigh of ecstasy; 
his lips met those of the maiden, — not by chance, nor 
by stratagem, but as Saint-Preux’s was to meet the 
lips of Julie a hundred years later. 

Rosa made her escape, 

Cornelius stood with his heart upon his lips, and 
his face glued to the wicket in the door. 

He was fairly choking with happiness and joy. He 
opened his window, and gazed long, with swelling 
heart, at the cloudless vault of heaven, and the 
moon, which shone like silver upon the two-fold 
stream flowing from far beyond the hills. He filled 
his lungs with the pure, sweet air, while his brain 
dwelt upon thoughts of happiness, and his heart over- 
flowed with gratitude and religious fervour. 

“ Oh, Thou art always watching from on high, my 

The Blooming of the Flower 173 

God/’ he cried half prostrate, his gflowing* eyes fixed 
upon the stars; ** forgive me, that I almost doubted 
Thy existence during these latter days, for Thou didst 
hide Thy face behind the clouds, and wert for a 
moment lost to my sight, O Thou merciful God, Thou 
pitying Father everlasting! But to-day, this even- 
ing, and to-night, again I see Thee in all Thy won- 
drous glory in the mirror of Thy heavenly abode, and 
more clearly still in the mirror of my grateful heart. ” 

He was well again, the poor invalid ; the wretched 
captive was free once more. 

During part of the night Cornelius remained at 
his barred window, with ear on the alert, and his 
five senses all concentrated in one, or rather in two, 
for he used his eyes while he was listening. 

He gazed at the stars, and listened for sounds on 

From time to time he turned his eyes toward the 

“ There,” he would say, “ is Rosa, — Rosa, watch- 
ing as I am, and like me waiting from moment to 
moment. There, under her eyes, is the mysterious 
flower, which is alive, is peeping out from its bud, 
nay, is opening ; perhaps at this very moment Rosa is 
holding the stem of the tulip in her soft, warm 
fingers. Touch the stem gently, Rosa ! Perhaps 
she is touching the half-opened calyx with her lips. 
Breathe carefully upon it, Rosa, dear Rosa, for your 
lips may burn it ! Perhaps at this instant my two 
loves are kissing each other, with only God to see.” 

At that moment a star blazed up in the southern 
heaven, shot across the intervening space, and seemed 
to fall upon Loewestein. 

Cornelius was startled. 

” Ah,” said he, ” it is God sending a soul to enter 
into my flower !” 

And as if he had guessed aright, almost at the 
same instant the prisoner heard a step in the corridor 
light as a fairy’s, and the rustling of a dress which 
sounded like the beating of a bird’s wings; and a 
well-known voice said, — 

174 The Black Tulip 

“ Cornelius, my friend, my dearly beloved and 
happy friend, come, come quickly 

Cornelius took only one step from the window 
to the door, and agfain his lips encountered the lips 
of Rosa, who whispered as she kissed him, — 

It has opened, and is as black as night; here it 


'' What ! here?” cried Cornelius, taking away his 

Yes, yes ! I had to run a little risk for the sake 
of a great pleasure. Here it is, see ! Take it/’ 

With one hand she raised to the height of the 
wicket a little dark lantern; then she showed the 
light, while with the other band she raised the mar- 
vellous tulip to the same height. 

Cornelius gave a great cry, and felt as if he must 

Oh, my God, my God,” he murmured, how 
dost Thou recompense me for my loss of freedom, 
innocent though I be, in vouchsafing me two such 
flowers at the wicket of my cell ! ’ ’ 

**Kiss it,” said Rosa, as I kissed it but this 

Cornelius, hardly daring to breathe, touched the 
tip of the flower with his lips; and never did kiss 
upon woman’s lips, even though they were such lips 
Rosa’s, touch the heart so deeply. 

The tulip was lovely, magnificent, superb ; its stalk 
was more than eighteen inches high; it grew from 
the folds of four green leaves, slender and straight 
as lance-shafts ; and the whole of the flower was as 
black and shining as jet. 

‘‘Rosa,” said Cornelius, whose breath came 
quickly , — ** Rosa, we have not a moment to lose ; the 
letter must be written.” 

It is all written, my beloved Cornelius,” replied 


“ While the tulip was opening I wrote it myself, 
for I did not wish to lose a moment. Here is the 
letter; tell me whether you approve of it.” 

The Blooming of the Flower 175 

Cornelius took the letter, and read, in a hand 
writing which was much improved even since th« 
little note he had received from Rosa, as follows : — 

Mynheer President, — ^The black tulip is about to open 
perhaps in ten minutes. As soon as it is open I shall send i 
messenger to you to entreat you to come in person and see i 
here at the fortress of Loewestein. I am the daughter of th« 
jailer Gryphus, and almost as much a prisoner as the prisoner 
of my father. I cannot, therefore, bring you this marvel 
This IS the reason why I venture to beg you to come and see i 

It is my wish that it should be called Rosa Barljensis.** 

It has opened; it is perfectly black; come, Mynheer Presi 
dent, come! 

I have the honour to be your humble servant, 

Rosa Gryphus. 

“That's splendid, dear Rosa, splendid! Youi 
letter is admirable! I could never have written il 
with such simplicity. You will give the committee 
all the information that is asked of you. They wil 
then know how the tulip has been grown ; how much 
care and anxiety and how many sleepless nights it has 
cost. But now, not a moment must be lost, Rosa. 
The messenger, the messenger!” 

“ What is the president’s name?” 

“ Give me the letter, I will direct it. Oh, he is 
very well known; he is Mynheer van Systens, the 
burgomi'sitr of iHarlem; give it me, Rosa, give it 

And with a trembling hand, Cornelius wrote upon 
the letter, — 

“ To Mynheer Peters van Systens, Burgomaster, and Presi- 
dent of the Horticultural Society of Harlem.” 

Now, go, Rosa, go,’* said Cornelius, “ and let 
us implore the protection of God, who has so kindly 
watched over us until now.*’ 

176 The Black Tulip 



In truth, the poor young: people were in great need 
of the direct protection and care of the Lord. 

They had never been so near the destruction of 
their hopes as at this moment, when they thought 
themselves certain of their happiness. 

We have too much faith in the intelligence of our 
readers to doubt that they long ago recognized in 
Jacob our old friend, or rather enemy, Isaac Boxtel. 

Therefore the reader has guessed, no doubt, that 
this worthy had followed from the Buytenhof to 
Loewestein the object of his love and the object of his 
hatred, — the black tulip and Cornelius van Baerle. 

What no one but a tulip-fancier, and an envious 
tulip-fancier at that, could have discovered, — the 
existence of the bulbs and the prisoner’s ambition,— 
envy had enabled Boxtel, if not to discover, at least 
to imagine. 

We have seen him, more successful under the name 
of Jacob than under that of Isaac, gain the friend- 
ship of Gryphus, whose gratitude and hospitality he 
watered for several months with the best gin ever 
distilled from the Texel to Antwerp. 

He lulled the suspicion of the jailer, for we have 
seen how suspicious old Gryphus was ; he set his sus- 
picions at rest by flattering him with the idea of a 
marriage with Rosa. 

Moreover, he fondled his jailer’s instinct, while 
he flattered his paternal ambition, by painting in the 
blackest colours the learned prisoner whom Gryphus 
had in his keeping, and who, according to the 
disant Jacob, had entered into a league with Satan 
to destroy his Highness the Prince of Orange. 

At first he had also made some way with Rosa; 
not, indeed, by arousing any sympathetic feeling, for 
Rosa was far from being in love with him, but be- 
cause, by talking to her of marriage and of love, he 

The Envious Man 177 

had put to, flight all the suspicions which he might 
otherwise have excited. 

We have seen how his imprudence in following 
Rosa into the garden had unmasked him in the eyes 
of the young damsel, and how the instinctive fears 
of Cornelius had put the two lovers on their guard 
against him. 

The reader will remember that the prisoner’s 
anxiety was principally aroused by what Rosa had 
told him of Jacob’s fit of passion against Gryphus on 
account of the bulb he crushed. At that moment 
Boxtel’s exasperation was the greater because, 
though suspecting that Cornelius possessed a second 
bulb, he was by no means sure of it. 

From that moment he kept an incessant watch 
upon Rosa, not only following her into the garden, 
but in the corridors as well. 

Only, as he now followed her in the night and 
bare-footed, he was neither seen nor heard, except 
on one occasion, when Rosa thought she saw some- 
thing like a shadow on the staircase. 

Her discovery, however, was made too late, as 
Boxtel had heard from the mouth of the prisoner 
himself that a second bulb existed. 

A victim of the stratagem of Rosa, who had made 
a pretence of putting it in the bed, and with no doubt 
that this little farce had been played in order to force 
him to betray himself, he redoubled his precaution, 
and employed every means suggested by his crafty 
nature to continue to spy upon the others without 
being seen himself. 

He saw Rosa conveying a large earthen pot from 
her father’s kitchen to her bedroom. 

He saw Rosa washing her pretty little hands, all 
grimy with the mould which she had kneaded, to 
give her tulip the best bed possible. 

At last he hired, just opposite Rosa’s window, a 
little attic, distant enough not to allow him to be 
recognized with the naked eye, but sufficiently near 
to enable him, with the help of his telescope, to 
watch everything that was going on at Loewestein in 


lyS The Black Tulip 

Rosa’s room, just as at Dort he had watched every- 
thing that took place in Cornelius’s drying-room. 

He had not been installed more than three days in 
his attic before all his doubts were removed. 

At early dawn the flower-pot was in the window; 
and like the charming female figures of Mieris and 
Metzys, Rosa would appear at the window as in a 
frame formed by the first budding sprays of the 
virgin’s bower and the honeysuckle. 

Rosa watched the flower-pot with an interest 
which betrayed to Boxtel the real value of the object 
enclosed in it. 

The object in the pot must be the second bulb ; 
that is to say, the prisoner’s last reliance. 

When the nights threatened to be too cold, Rosa 
took in the flower-pot. 

This was in accordance with the instructions of 
Cornelius, who was afraid of the bulb being killed 
by frost. 

When the sun became too hot, Rosa likewise took 
in the pot from eleven in the morning until two in 
the afternoon. 

Another one of Cornelius’s injunctions, for he was 
afraid that the soil would become too dry. 

But when the point of the bud appeared above the 
earth, Boxtel was fully convinced; and it had not 
grown to the height of an inch before, thanks to his 
telescope, the envious fellow’s last doubts vanished. 

Cornelius possessed two bulbs, and the second was 
entrusted to the love and care of Rosa. 

For it may well be imagined that the tender secret 
of the two lovers had not escaped the prying curi- 
osity of Boxtel. 

The question, therefore, was how to find means to 
wrest the second bulb from the tender care of Rosa, 
and the afl^ection of Cornelius. 

But this was no easy task. 

Rosa watched over her tulip as a mother over her 
child ; yes, more sedulously even than a mother, — she 
was as devoted as a dove who is hatching her eggs. 

Rosa never left her room during the day, and more 

The Envious Man 179 

than that, strange to say, she no longer left it in the 

For seven days Boxtel watched Rosa to no 
purpose ; she was always at her post. 

These were the seven days of misunderstanding, 
which made Cornelius so unhappy, depriving him at 
the same time of all news of Rosa and of his tulip. 

Would the coolness between Rosa and Cornelius 
last for ever? This would have made the theft much 
more difficult than Mynheer Isaac had at first ex- 

We say the theft, for Isaac had very easily 
adopted the plan of stealing the tulip. And as it 
was being reared in the most profound secrecy; as 
the two young people were keeping it from all the 
world; as the word of a well-known tulip-fancier 
would be believed as against that of a maiden who 
was utterly ignorant of all the minutise of horti- 
culture, or of a prisoner undergoing sentence for 
high treason, and who could hardly be heard from 
the depths of his dungeon, even though he should 
protest; moreover, as he would be in possession of 
the tulip, which fact, in the matter of chattels, carries 
a presumption of right, — ^he could not fail to obtain 
the prize, and to be crowned with honour instead of 
Cornelius ; and then the tulip, instead of being called 
“ Tulipa nigra Barlaensis,’* would go down to 
posterity under the name of “ TuHpa nigra Boxtel- 
lensis ’’ or ‘‘ Boxtellea.” 

Mynheer Isaac had not yet quite decided which of 
these two names he would give to the tulip ; but as 
both meant the same thing, this was not the point of 
the utmost importance. 

That point was to steal the tulip. 

Now, in order that Boxtel might steal the tulip, 
it was necessary that Rosa should leave her room. 

Great, therefore, was the joy of Jacob, or Isaac, 
as you choose, when he saw the usual evening meet- 
ings of the lovers resumed. 

He first of all took advantage of Rosa’s absence 
to make a careful examination of the door of her 

i8o The Black Tulip 

chamber. The door fitted tightly, and the key had 
to be turned twice in the lock, which was, however, 
a simple one ; but no one save Rosa had a key. 

Boxtel at first thought of stealing her key; but 
not only was it exceedingly difficult to rummage in 
her pocket, but when she perceived her loss, she 
would have her lock changed, and would not leave 
her room until it was done. So that he would have 
committed a crime for nothing. 

He thought it, therefore, better to employ a differ- 
ent expedient. He collected as many keys as he 
could, and tried all of them during one of those 
delightful hours which Rosa and Cornelius passed 
together at the wicket in the cell-door. 

Two of the keys would enter the lock, and one of 
them would turn once, but not the second time. 

There was, therefore, only a slight change to be 
made in this key. 

Boxtel covered it with a slight coat of wax, and 
tried again, when the obstacle which prevented the 
key from being turned a second time left its im- 
pression on the wax. 

Boxtel had only to follow that impression with a 
file as thin as the blade of a knife. 

In two more days his key fitted perfectly. 

Rosa’s door thus opened without noise and with- 
out the use of force, and Boxtel found himself in the 
maiden’s chamber, tSte-a-tete with the tulip. 

His first guilty act had been to climb over a wall 
in order to dig up the tulip ; the second, to introduce 
himself into Cornelius’s drying-room through an 
open window; and the third to enter Rosa’s room 
by means of a false key. 

Thus envy urged Boxtel on with rapid steps in the 
career of crime. 

Boxtel, as we have said, was alone with the tulip. 

A common thief would have taken the pot under 
his arm, and carried it off. 

But Boxtel was not a common thief, and he 

He reflected as he gazed upon the tulip, by the 

The Envious Man i8i 

light of his dark lantern, that it was not yet suffi- 
ciently forward for him to be absolutely certain that 
the flower would be black, although present appear- 
ances made it more than probable. 

He reflected that if its flower were not black, or if 
the black were not spotless, he would have made him- 
self a thief to no purpose. 

He reflected that the report of the theft would 
spread, that suspicion would fall upon him after 
what had taken place in the garden, that search 
would be made, and that no matter how well it 
might be hidden, the tulip might be found. 

He reflected that if he hid the tulip so that 
it could not be found, it might be injured in all 
the changes of place which it would have to 

Finally he concluded that it would be better, since 
he had the key of Rosa’s chamber, and might enter 
whenever he liked, to wait for the blooming, and to 
take it either an hour before or after it opened, and 
to start on the instant for Harlem, where the tulip 
would be before the judges before any one else could 
lay claim to it. 

Then it would be for Boxtel to charge the one 
who claimed it after that with theft. 

This was a deep-laid scheme, and quite worthy of 
its author. 

Thus, every evening during that delightful hour 
which the two lovers passed together at the wicket, 
Boxtel entered the maiden’s chamber to watch the 
progress which the black tulip was making toward 

On the evening at which we have arrived, he made 
his preparations to go in as usual; but the young 
people, as we have seen, only exchanged a few words 
before Cornelius sent Rosa back to watch over the 

Seeing Rosa enter her room ten minutes after she 
had left it, Boxtel guessed that the tulip had 
opened, or was about to open. 

During that night, therefore, the great blow was 

1 82 The Black Tulip 

to be struck; so Boxtel presented himself at 
Gryphus’s door with a double supply of gin, — that 
is to say, with a bottle in each pocket. 

Gryphus being once tipsy, Boxtel was very nearly 
master of the house. 

At eleven o’clock Gryphus was dead drunk. At 
two in the morning Boxtel saw Rosa leaving the 
chamber; but she held in her arms something which 
she carried with great care. 

He did not doubt that this was the black tulip in 

But what was she going to do with it? Did she 
propose to start for Harlem with it herself on the 
instant ? 

It was not possible that a young girl would under- 
take such a journey alone during the night. 

Was she only going to show the tulip to Cor- 
nelius^ This was more likely. 

He followed Rosa with bare feet, and walking on 

He saw her approach the wicket. 

He heard her calling Cornelius. 

By the light of the dark-lantern he saw the tulip 
in full flower, and as black as the darkness in which 
he was hidden. 

He heard the plan concerted between Cornelius 
and Rosa to send a messenger to Harlem, He saw 
the lips of the lovers meet, and then heard Cornelius 
send Rosa away. 

He saw Rosa extinguish the light, and return to 
her chamber. Ten minutes later he saw her leave 
the room again, and close the door carefully, and 
turn the key twice. 

Boxtel, who saw all this from his hiding-place on 
the landing-place of the staircase above Rosa’s 
apartment, descended a step from his for every one 
that Rosa descended from hers; so that when her 
light foot touched the lowest step of the staircase, 
Boxtel touched, with a still lighter hand, the lock 
of Rosa’s chamber. 

And in that hand, it must be understood, he held 

Black Tulip changes Masters 183 

the false key, which opened Rosa’s door as easily as 
did the real one. 

And that is why, at the beginning of the chapter, 
we said that the poor young people were in great 
need of the direct protection of the Lord. 



Cornelius remained standing on the spot where 
Rosa had left him, almost overpowered by the two- 
fold weight of his happiness. 

Half-an-hour passed away. The first rosy streaks 
of dawn were Ix'!./' to make their way through 
the bars of Cornelius’s window when he was sud- 
denly startled to hear steps coming hurriedly up the 
staircase, and cries approaching nearer and nearer. 

Almost at the same instant his gaze fell upon the 
pale and distracted face of Rosa. 

He recoiled, himself turning pale with fright. 

** Cornelius, Cornelius !” she screamed, gasping 
for breath. 

“ For God’s sake, what is it?” asked the prisoner. 

” Cornelius ! the tulip ” 


“ Oh, how can I tell you?” 

“ Speak, speak, Rosa!’^ 

“ Some one has taken it from us, — some one has 
stolen it !” 

“ Some one has taken it from us, — some one has 
stolen it?” shrieked Cornelius. 

“ Yes,” said Rosa, leaning against the door to 
support herself; ” yes, taken, stolen!” 

In spite of her efforts, her limbs failed her, and 
she fell on her knees. 

“But how? Tell me, explain to me !’* 

“ Oh, it is not my fault, my friend.” 

Poor Rosa! she no longer dared to call him “ My 

184 The Black Tulip 

'‘You must have left it alone/’ exclaimed Cor- 
nelius, ruefully. 

“ One minute only, to go and tell our messenger, 
who lives scarcely fifty yards off, on the banks of 
the Waal.” 

“ And during that time, notwithstanding all my 
injunctions, you left the key in the door, unfortunate 

“ No, no, no! that is what I cannot understand. 
The key was never out of my hands ; I clenched it 
as if I were afraid it would take wings.” 

" But how did it happen, then?” 

“Ah, if I only knew myself I I had given the 
letter to my messenger; he started before I left his 
house; I came home, and my door was locked; 
everything in my room was as I had left it, except 
the tulip, — ^that was gone. Some one must have 
found a key to my room, or have got a false one 
made. ” 

Rosa was suffocating, and her tears choked her 

Cornelius, standing motionless and with distorted 
features, heard almost without understanding, and 
only muttered, — 

“ Stolen, stolen, stolen I I am lost !” 

“ Oh, Cornelius, forgive me, forgive me, or it will 
kill me!” cried Rosa. 

At her despairing cry, Cornelius seized the iron 
bars of the wicket, and shook them like a madman, 
crying, — 

“ Rosa, Rosa, we have been robbed, it is true, but 
shall we confess ourselves beaten for that? No, 
no; it is a great calamity, but perhaps not irrepar- 
able, Rosa, for we know the thief !” 

“ Alas, how can I say that I am positive about 

“ Oh, but I say myself that it is that infamous 
Jacob. Shall we allow him to carry to Harlem the 
fruit of our labour, the fruit of our sleepless nights, 
the child of our love? Rosa, we must pursue him, 
we must overtake him I” 

Black Tulip changes Masters 185 

But how can we do all this, my friend, without 
letting my father know that we were in communica- 
tion with each other? How could I, a poor girl, 
with so little freedom and so little knowledge of 
the world and its ways, hope to do what you might 
fail in yourself?** 

‘ ‘ Rosa, Rosa, open this door, and you will see 
whether I can do it; you will see if I do not dis- 
cover the thief; you will see if I do not make him 
confess his crime ; you will see if I do not make him 
beg for mercy !** 

“Alas!** cried Rosa, sobbing bitterly, “can I 
open the door for you; have I the keys? If I had 
had them, would not you have been free long ago?** 

‘ ‘ Your father has them, — ^your wicked father, 
the cruel headsman, who has already beheaded the 
first bulb of my tulip. Oh, the wretch, the wretcn ! 
he is Jacob’s accomplice !** 

“ Don’t speak so loud, for Heaven’s sake !” 

“ Oh, Rosa, if you don’t open the door for me,” 
Cornelius cried in a frenzy of passion, “ I will break 
through these bars, and kill everybody in the 
prison I” 

“ Oh, my friend, in pity’s name, be calm!” 

“ I tell you, Rosa, that I will demolish this 
prison, stone for stone.” 

The wretched man, whose strength was increased 
tenfold by his rage, began to shake the door with a 
great noise, little heeding the echoes of his thunder- 
ing tones in the reverberating spiral staircase. 

Rosa, in her fright, made vain attempts to check 
this furious outbreak, 

“ I tell you that I will kill that infamous Gry- 
phus!” roared Cornelius; “I tell you I will shed 
his blood, as he did that of my black tulip 1” 

The wretched prisoner was really beginning to go 

“Well, then, yes,” said Rosa, all in a tremble; 
“ yes, yes, only be quiet. Yes, I will take his keys, 
I will open the door for you ! Yes, only be quiet, 
my dear Cornelius.” 

i86 The Black Tulip 

She did not finish her speech, as a growl by her 
side interrupted her. 

Father r’ cried Rosa. 

^‘Gryphus!” roared Van Baerle, Oh, you 

Old Gryphus, in the midst of all the noise, had 
ascended the staircase without being heard. 

He seized his 'h'l' roughly by the wrist. 

“Oho! so you will take my keys?’^ he said in 
a voice choked with rage. “ So this infernal 
scoundrel, this monster, this gallows-bird of a con- 
spirator, is your dear Cornelius, is he? So you are 
in communication with prisoners of State? Oh, very 
good ! very good, indeed !” 

Rosa wrung her hands in despair. 

“Aha!” Gryphus continued, passing from the 
madness of anger to the cool irony of a man who has 
the upper hand, — “ aha, my innocent tulip-fancier ! 
aha, my gentle scholar! so you will kill me, and 
drink my blood, will you? Very good! nothing 
could be better ! And so you have made my daughter 
your accomplice 1 Holy Jesus I am I in a den of 
thieves, — in a cave of brigands? Ah, the governor 
shall know all this morning, and his Highness the 
Stadtholder to-morrow. We know the law, — ‘ Who- 
ever stirs up rebellion in the prison, ’ etc. , — Article 6. 
We shall have a second edition of the Buytenhof, 
Master Scholar, and a good one this time. Yes, yes, 
just gnaw your paws like a bear in his cage; and 
you, my dear, devour your dear Cornelius with your 
eyes. I warn you, my pretty lambs, you shall not 
much longer have the felicity of conspiring together. 
Away with you, unnatural daughter ! And as to 
you, Master Scholar, au revoir ; never fear but we 
shall meet again.” 

Rosa, mad with terror and despair, threw a kiss 
to her friend; then, suddenly struck with a bright 
thought, she rushed toward the staircase, saying, — 

“ All is not yet lost, rely on me, my Cornelius.” 

Her father followed her, growling. 

>r Cornelius, he gradually loosened his 

President Van Systens 187 

hold of the bars, which his fingers still grasped con- 
vulsively. His head was heavy, his eyes wandered 
wildly, and he fell heavily on the floor of his cell 
muttering, — 

Stolen ! it has been stolen from me 
Meanwhile Boxtel, having left the fortress by the 
door which Rosa herself had opened, carrying the 
black tulip wrapped up in a cloak, had thrown him- 
self into a carriage which was waiting for him at 
Gorcum, and disappeared, having neglected ^ for 
reasons easy to understand to inform his friend 
Gryphus of his sudden departure. 

And now that we have seen him into his coach, 
we will, with the consent of the reader, follow him 
to the end of his journey. 

He proceeded but slowly, as it would be danger- 
ous for a black tulip to travel post. 

But Boxtel, fearing that he might not arrive early 
enough, procured at Delft a box, lined all round 
with fresh moss, in which he packed the tulip. The 
flower rested then in so soft a bed, with a supply of 
air from above, that the coach could now travel full 
speed without any possibility of injury. 

He arrived next morning at Harlem, fatigued but 
triumphant; and to do away with every trace of the 
theft, he transplanted the tulip, broke the earthen 
pot, and threw the pieces into the canal. Then he 
wrote the president of the Horticultural Society a 
letter, in which he announced to him that he had just 
arrived at Harlem with a perfectly black tulip; and 
with his flower all safe, took up his quarters at 
a good hotel in the town. 

And there he waited. 



Rosa, on leaving Cornelius, had fixed on a plan of 
action. It was to restore to Cornelius the tulip 
Jacob had stolen, or never to see him again. 

1 88 The Black Tulip 

She had seen the despair of the prisoner, twofold 
in its source, and incurable. 

On the one hand, their separation was inevitable, 
— Gryphus having at the same time surprised the 
secret of their love and of their stolen meetings. 

On the other hand, all Van Baerle’s ambitious 
hopes were crushed ; and he had been nursing them 
for seven years. 

Rosa was one of those women who are dejected 
by trifles, but who, with a vast reserve of strength 
to meet overwhelming misfortune, find even in the 
misfortune itself the energy to struggle against or the 
means of repairing it. 

The maiden returned to her room, and cast a last 
glance around to see whether she had not been mis- 
taKen, and whether the tulip was not stowed away 
in some corner where it had escaped her notice; but 
she sought in vain, — the tulip was still absent ; it 
was indeed stolen. 

Rosa made up a little parcel of such articles of cloth- 
ing as were indispensable, took her three hundred 
florins of savings, — ^that is to say, all her fortune, — 
took the third bulb from among her lace, where she 
had buried it, and carefully hid it in her bosom ; then 
she locked her door with a double turn, so as to 
delay the discovery of her flight for at least so long 
a time as would be necessary to force the door, went 
down the stairs, left the prison by the same door 
which an hour before had given egress to Boxtel, and 
went to a stable-keeper and asked him to let a car- 
riage to her. 

The man had only a spring-cart; and this was 
the vehicle which Boxtel had hired the evening 
before, and in which he was now on his way to 

We say on his way to Delft, for it is necessary to 
make a tremendous ditour going from Loewestein to 
Harlem; as the crow flies, it is not more than half 
the distance. 

But none but birds can fly as the crow flies in 
Holland, — a country which is more cut up by rivers 

President Van Systens 189 

and brooks and streams and canals than any other 
in the world. 

Not being able to procure a vehicle, Rosa was 
therefore obliged to take a horse, — about which there 
was no difficulty, as the stable-keeper knew her to 
be the daughter of the keeper of the fortress. 

Rosa hoped to overtake her messenger, — a simple, 
honest lad, — and take him with her, to serve her as 
a guide and a protector. 

And in fact she had not gone two leagues before 
she saw him walking at a round pace along the side 
of a lovely road bordering the river. 

She urged her horse to a brisk trot, and soon came 
up with him. 

The honest lad was not aware of the important 
character of his message; nevertheless he used as 
much speed as if he had known it; and in less 
than an hour he had already gone a league and a 

Rosa took from him the note, which had now 
become useless, and explained to him what she 
wanted him to do for her. He placed himself entirely 
at her disposal, promising to keep pace with the 
horse, if Rosa would allow him to lay his hand on 
the animal’s crupper or withers. 

The maiden permitted him to rest his hand where- 
ever he chose, so long as he did not interfere with 
the horse’s gait. 

The two travellers had been on their way for five 
hours and made more than eight leagues; and yet 
Gryphus had not the least suspicion that his daughter 
had left the fortress. 

Moreover, the jailer, who was a malicious fellow at 
heart, hugged himself with delight to think that he 
had struck such terror into his daughter’s heart. 

While he was congratulating himself on having 
such a fine story to tell his boon companion Jacob, 
that worthy was on his road to Delft ; but thanks to 
the swiftness of his horse, he had the start of Rosa 
and her companion by four leagues. 

And while the jailer imagined that Rosa was in 

190 The Black Tulip 

her chamber, trcmb/ing or sulky, Rosa was going 
farther and farther away from him. . 

Thus, the prisoner alone was where Gryphus 
thought him to be. 

Rosa had been so little with her father since she 
had been so devoted to the tulip, that it was not 
until his dinner hour — that is to say, twelve o'clock— 
that Gryphus 's appetite reminded him that his 
daughter' was sulking rather too long. 

He sent one of the turnkeys to call her ; and when 
the man came back and told him that he had called 
and sought her in vain, he determined to go and 
call her himself. 

He first went to her room ; but he had his trouble 
for his pains, for Rosa answered not. 

The locksmith of the fortress was sent for; he 
opened the door, but Gryphus no more found Rosa 
within than Rosa had found the tulip. 

At that very moment she was entering Rotterdam. 

Gryphus therefore had no better success in the 
kitchen than in her room, and found as little trace of 
her in the garden as in the kitchen. 

The reader may imagine the jailer's anger when, 
having made inquiries in the neighbourhood, he 
learned that his cr had hired a horse, and, 

like Bradamante or Clorinda, had gone off in search 
of adventure, without saying where she was going. 

Gryphus in his fury went back to Van Baerle, 
abused him, threatened him, knocked all the miser- 
able furniture of his cell about, promised him the 
darkest of the dark dungeons, and menaced him with 
starvation and flogging. 

Cornelius, without even listcidng to what his 
jailer said, allowed himself to be ill-treated, abused, 
and threatened, remaining all the while sullen, im- 
movable, dead to every emotion and fear. 

After having sought for Rosa in every direction, 
Gryphus looked for Jacob; and as he could not find 
him any more than he could his daughter, he began 
at once to suspect that Jacob had carried her off. 

The maiden meanwhile, having stopped for two 

President Van Systens 191 

hours at Rotterdam, had started again on her 
journey. That evening she slept at Delft, and on 
the following morning she reached Harlem, four 
hours after Boxtel had arrived there. 

Rosa, first of all, found her way to the house of 
Master Van Systens, the president of the Horti- 
cultural Society. 

She found that worthy gentleman in a situation 
which we must not neglect to describe under pain 
of proving recreant to every obligation of a painter 
and a veracious historian. 

The president was drawing up a report to the com** 
mittee of the society. 

This report was written on large-sized paper, in the 
finest handwriting of the president. 

Rosa was announced simply as Rosa Gryphus ; but 
her name, sonorous as it was, must have been un- 
known to the president, for she was refused admis- 

Rosa, however, was not disheartened; she had 
engaged in a certain mission, and had vowed that 
she would not allow herself to be cast down by rebufi 
or brutality or insult. 

“ Say to the president,’* she said to the servant, 

that I have come to speak to him about the black 
tulip. ’ ’ 

These words had as magical an effect as the 
celebrated “Open Sesame” of the “Arabian 
Nights;” and, thanks to them, the doors flew open 
before her, and admitted her to the office of the 
president, Van Systens, who gallantly rose from his 
chair to meet her. 

He was a slim little man, — a perfect representation 
of the stem of a flower, of which his head formed the 
calyx, while his limp arms, hanging by his sides, 
were like the oblong double leaf of the tulip; a cer- 
tain rocking motion in his gait completed his 
resemblance to that flower when it bends before the 

We have said that he was called Mynheer Van 

192 The Black Tulip 

“ Well, young woman,'’ he cried, ‘‘ your business 
concerns the black tulip, you say?" 

To the president of the Horticultural Society the 
Tulip a nigra was a power of the first rank, which 
might well, as queen of the tulips, send representa- 
tives to friendly powers. 

“Yes, Mynheer," answered Rosa, “I come at 
least to speak of it. ' ' 

“Is it doing well?" asked Van Systens, with a 
smile of tender veneration. 

“ Alas I Mynheer, I don't know," said Rosa. 

“ How is that? Has any accident happened to it?" 

“ A very great one, yes, Mynheer — not to it, but 
to me." 

“What is it?" 

“ It has been stolen from me." 

The black tulip stolen from you !" 

“ Yes, Mynheer." 

“ Do you know the thief?" 

“ I have my suspicions, but I do not yet dare to 
accuse any one." 

“ But that is somethirg which can very easily be 
ascertained. ' ' 

“How so?" 

“If it has been stolen from you, the thief cannot 
be far off." 

“ Why not?" 

“ Because I saw it only two hours ago." 

“You saw the black tulip!" cried Rosa, making 
an impulsive movement toward Mynheer Van 

“ As plainly as I see you, young lady." 

“ AVhere was it?" 

“ In your master’s hands, to all appearances." 

“ In my master’s hands !" 

“Yes. Are you not in the service of Mynheer 
Isaac Boxtel?" 

“ I?" 

“ You, of course." 

“ Why, for whom do you take me, Mynheer?" 

“ Why, for whom do you take me, pray?" 

President Van Systens 193 

** Mynheer, I trust that I am not mistaken in 
taking you to be the honourable Mynheer Van 
Systens, burgomaster of Harlem and president of the 
Horticultural Society.’’ 

“ And what did you tell me just now?” 

I told you, sir, that my tulip had been stolen.” 

“Then your tulip is Mynheer BoxteTs. In that 
case, my child, you express yourself very badly. The 
tulip has been stolen^ not from you, but from 
Mynheer Boxtel.” 

” I repeat to you, Mynheer, that I do not know 
who this Mynheer Boxtel is, and that I now hear his 
name for the first time.” 

“You do not know who Mynheer Boxtel is, and 
you also had a black tulip?” 

“ But is there any other besides mine?” asked 
Rosa, trembling. 

“ Mynheer BoxteFs, — ^yes.” 

“What is it like?” 

“ It is black, of course.” 

“ Without spot?” 

“ Without a single spot, — ^without the least iota 
of colour,” 

“And you have this tulip, — it has been deposited 

“ No; but it will be, as I must exhibit it to the 
committee before the prize is awarded.” 

“Oh, Mynheer,” cried Rosa, “this Boxtel, this 
Isaac Boxtel, who calls himself the owner of the 
black tulip ” 

“ And who is its owner.” 

“ Is he not a very thin man?” 


“ Bald?” 

“ Yes.” 

“ With rather wild eyes?” 

“ I think so. ” 

Restless, stooping, and bow-legged?” 

“ In truth you draw Master Boxtel’s portrait, 
feature by feature.” 

“ Mynheer, is the tulip in a pot of white and blue 


194 The Black Tulip 

earthenware, with a bunch of yellowish flowers on 
three sides?" 

“ Oh, as to that I am not quite sure; I looked 
more at the man than at the pot." 

" Mynheer, it is my tulip; it is the one which has 
been stolen from me. I come here to lay claim to it 
in your presence and at your hands." 

"Oho!" said Mynheer van Systens, looking at 
Rosa. "What! you are here to claim Mynheer 
Boxters tulip? Upon my word, you are a cool 
customer !" 

" Mynheer," said Rosa, a little put out by this 
apostrophe, " I do not say that 1 come to claim 
Mynheer Boxters tulip, but I do say that I am here 
to claim my own." 

" Yours?" 

"Yes, the one which I myself planted and raised." 

" Well, then, go and find Mynheer Boxtel at the 
White Swan Inn, and you can then settle matters 
with him; as for me, considering that the cause 
seems to me as dilficult to judge as that which was 
brought before the late King Solomon, and that I 
do not pretend to be as wise as he was, I shall con- 
tent myself with making my report, establishing the 
existence of the black tulip, and ordering the hundred 
thousand florins to be paid to its discoverer. Good- 
bye, my child," 

"Oh, Mynheer, Mynheer!" Rosa persisted. 

"But, my child," continued Van Systens, "as 
you are young and pretty, and as you are not entirely 
abandoned, take my advice. Be prudent in this 
matter, for we have a court of justice and a prison 
here at Harlem; and, moreover, we are exceedingly 
keen on the point of honour where our tulips are con- 
cerned. Go, my child, go and find Mynheer Isaac 
Boxtel at the White Swan Inn." 

And Mynheer van Systens, resuming his pen, went 
on with his interrupted report. 

Member of Horticultural Society 195 



Rosa, bewildered and almost distracted between 
joy and fear at the thought of the black tulip being 
found again, started for the White Swan, followed 
by the boatman, a stout lad from Friesland, who was 
quite capable of dealing single-handed with ten 

He had been made acquainted in the course of the 
journey with the state of affairs, and was not likely 
to shrink from any skirmish that might ensue; but 
he was enjoined if such a thing did occur, to be 
careful not to harm the tulip. 

On arriving in the market-place, Rosa suddenly 
stopped; she was seized by a sudden thought, as we 
read in Homer that Minerva seized Achilles by the 
hair of his head just when his wrath was carrying 
him beyond all bounds. 

‘‘Good heavens b” she muttered to herself, “I 
have made a grievous blunder ; it may be that I have 
been the ruin of Cornelius, the tulip, and myself. I 
have given the alarm, and awakened suspicion. I am 
but a woman; these men may league themselves 
against me, and then I shall be lost. To be sure, if I 
am lost, that matters nothing, — ^but Cornelius and the 

She reflected for a moment. 

“ If I seek out this Boxtel and do not know him ; 
if Boxtel is not my friend Jacob, but another 
fancier, who has also discovered the black tulip on 
his own account; or if my tulip has been stolen by 
some other than the one I suspect, or has already 
passed into the hands of a third person, — if I do not 
recognize the man, but the tulip only, how shall I 
prove that it belongs to me? 

“ On the other hand, if I identify Boxtel as the 
false Jacob, who knows what will come of it? While 

196 The Black Tulip 

we are qiia-^'e!I:ng- with one another, the tulip will 
die. Oh, holy Virgin ! grant me strength and in- 
spiration ; the happiness of my whole life is at stake, 
— to say nothing of the unhappy captive who may 
be breathing his last at this moment. ^ * 

Having uttered this heartfelt prayer Rosa waited 
for the inspiration from on high which she had 

Meanwhile, a great noise arose at the other end 
of the market-place. People were running about, 
doors opening and shutting ; Rosa alone was uncon- 
scious of all this hubbub among the populace. 

We must return to the president,’^ she muttered. 

Well, then, let us return,*’ said the boatman. 

They took the narrow Rue de la Faille, which led 
them straight to the abode of Mynheer van Systens, 
who with his best pen and in his finest hand was still 
at work on his report. 

Everywhere on her way Rosa heard of nothing but 
the black tulip, and the prize of a hundred thousand 
florins. The news had spread like wildfire through 
the town. 

Rosa had not a little difficulty in penetrating a 
second time into the office of Mynheer van Systens, 
who, however, was again worked upon by the magic 
name of the black tulip. 

But when he recognized Rosa, whom in his own 
mind he had set down as mad, or even worse, he 
was angry, and was inclined to send her away. 

Rosa, however, clasped her hands, and with that 
tone of honest truth which finds its way to the hearts 
of men, — 

For heaven’s sake, Mynheer,” she said implor- 
ingly, ‘‘ do not turn me away, but listen to what I 
have to say ; and if it be not possible for you to do me 
justice, at least you will not one day have to reproach 
yourself before God for having made yourself acces- 
sory to a bad action.” 

Van Systens stamped his foot wi^ vexation; it 
cvas the second time that Rosa interrupted him in 
the midst of a composition which stimulated his 

Member of Horticultural Society 197 

vanity, both as burgomaster and as president of the 
Horticultural Society. 

But my report r' he cried, — “ my report on the 
black tulip ! ’ ^ 

‘‘ Mynheer,” Rosa continued, with the firmness 
of innocence and truth, “your report on the black 
tulip will, if you decline to hear me, be based on 
crime or on falsehood. I implore you, Mynheer, let 
this Boxtel, whom I assert to be Master Jacob, be 
brought here before you and me, and I swear before 
God that I will leave him in undisturbed possession 
of the tulip, if I do not recognize the flower and its 
holder. ” 

“ Upon my soul! we are getting on,” exclaimed 
Van Systens. 

“ What do you mean?” 

“ I ask you what will be proved by your recogniz- 
ing them?” 

“ But, surely,” said Rosa, at her wit^s end, “ you 
are an honest man; just suppose that you were to 
award the prize to a man for something which he 
had not produced, but had stolen !” 

Rosa’s tone seemed to have carried conviction to 
the heart of Van Systens, and he perhaps would have 
answered her more gently, when a great noise was 
heard in the street, which was apparently nothing but 
the same noise which Rosa had already heard in the 
market-place in much less volume, but without attach- 
ing any importance to it, for it had not even inter- 
rupted her fervent prayer. 

Loud acclamations shook the house. 

Mynheer van Systens listened intently to the shout- 
ing, which Rosa had at first deemed not worthy of 
notice, and which now seemed to her to be hardly 
more than the ordinary noise of the street. 

“ What is this?” cried the burgomaster ; “ what is 
this? Is it possible, have I heard aright?” 

And he rushed towards his anteroom, without 
thinking any more about Rosa, whom he left in his 

Scarcely had he reached his anteroom, when he 

198 The Black Tulip 

Uttered a loud exclamation on seeing his staircase 
crowded up to the very landing by a multitude of 
people who accompanied, or rather followed a young 
man, simply clad in a coat of violet-coloured velvet, 
embroidered with silver, who, with a slow and stately 
gait, ascended the shining white stone steps. 

In his wake followed two officers, one of the navy 
and the other of the cavalry. 

Van Systens, having found his way through his 
frightened domestics, began to bow almost to the 
ground before his visitor, who was the cause of all 
this stir. 

“Your Highness!"^ he cried, “your Highness! 
Your Highness at my house ! A brilliant distinction 
for my humble abode that can never be effaced V* 

“Dear Mynheer van Systens,'’ said William of 
Orange, with a serenity which, with him, took the 
place of a smile, “ I am a true Hollander; I am fond 
of water, of beer, and of flowers, — sometimes even 
of that cheese whose flavour the French esteem so 
highly ; the flower which I prefer to all others is, of 
course, the tulip. I heard at Leyden that the city of 
Harlem at last possessed the black tulip; and after 
having satisfied myself that the report was true, how- 
ever incredible, I have come to learn all about it from 
the president of the Horticultural Society.^' 

“Oh, your Highness,” said Van Systens, in an 
ecstasy of gratified pride, “ what glory to the Society 
if its labours are pleasing to your Highness !” 

“ Have you got the flower here?” said the Prince, 
who doubtless already regretted ra^’irg made such a 
long speech, 

“ Alas, no, your Highness, I haven’t it here 1” 

“ And where is it?” 

“ Its owner has it.” 

“Who is he?” 

“ An honest tulip-grower of Dort.” 

“ From Dort?” 


“ His name?” 


Member of Horticultural Society 199 

His quarters?** 

“ At the White Swan; I will send for him, and if, 
meanwhile, your IIlghne«ss will condescend so far as 
to enter my parlour, he will surely make haste to 
bring his tulip to your Highness, knowing that your 
Highness is here.’* 

“ Very well, send for him.** 

‘‘Yes, your Highness. But ** 

“What is it?” 

“ Oh, nothing of any consequence, your High- 

“ Everything is of consequence in this world, 
Mynheer van Systens.” 

“ Well, then, your Highness, if it must be said, 
a little difficulty has presented itself.” 

“What difficulty?” 

‘ * This tulip has already been claimed by pre- 
tenders. To be sure it is worth a hundred thousand 
florins. * * 

“ Do you really mean that a claim has been made?” 
“ Yes, your Highness, by pretenders, by forgers.” 
“ That is a crime, Mynheer van Systens.** 

“ It is, your Highness.” 

“ And have you any proofs of their guilt?” 

“1^0, your Highness, the guilty woman ” 

“ The guilty woman, Mynheer?” 

“ I mean the woman who claims the tulip, your 
Highness, is here in the next room,** 

“ And what do you think of her. Mynheer van 

“ I think, your Highness, that the bait of a 
hundred thousand florins may have tempted her.** 

“ And she claims the tulip?*’ 

“ Yes, your Highness,** 

“ And what proof does she offer?” 

“ I was just going to question her when your High- 
ness came in.” 

“ Let us hear what she says, Mynheer van Systens, 
—let us hear what she says. I am the first magis- 
trate of the country; I will hear the cause and 
administer justice.” 

200 The Black Tulip 

I have found my King* Solomon/’ said Van 
Systens, bowing, and indicating his cabinet to the 

His Highness was just going to walk ahead; but 
suddenly he stopped, and said, — 

“ Go before me, and call me ‘ Mynheer.’ ” 

The two then entered the cabinet. 

Rosa was still standing at the same place, leaning 
against the frame of the window, and looking through 
the glass into the garden. 

‘'Ah, a Frisian girl!” said the Prince, as he 
observed Rosa’s gold brocade head-dress and red 

At the noise of their footsteps she turned round, 
but scarcely saw the Prince, who seated himself in 
the darkest corner of the apartment. 

All her attention, as may easily be imagined, was 
bestowed upon that important person who was called 
Van Systens, and not upon the humbler stranger, 
who came in behind the master of the house, and was 
probably nobody of any consequence. 

The humble stranger took a book down from the 
shelf, and made Van Systens a sign to begin the 
examination forthwith. 

Van Systens, also at the suggestion of the young 
man in the violet coat, sat down too, and almost 
bursting with pride and delight at the prominent posi- 
tion allotted to him, began, — 

“ My child, you promise to tell me the truth, and 
the entire truth, i o 'cc' n*- g this tulip?” 

I promise. ” 

Well, then, speak before this gentleman; he is 
one of the members of the Horticultural Society.” 

‘‘What am I to tell you. Mynheer,” said Rosa, 
“ which I have not told you already?” 

“Well, what next?” 

“ I repeat the request which I addressed to you 
before. ’ ’ 

“What is it?” 

‘ ‘ That you will order Mynheer Boxtel to come here 
with his tulip : if I do not recognize it as mine I will 

Member of Horticultural Society 201 

say so frankly; but if I do recognize it I will claim 
it, even if I have to go before his Highness the Stadt- 
holder himself with my proofs in my hands.'’ 

“You have proofs then, my child?" 

, “ God, who knows the justice of my cause, will 
furnish them." 

Van Systens exchanged a look with the Prince, 
who since Rosa's first words had seemed to be 
struggling to remember something, as if it were not 
the first time that her sweet voice had fallen upon 
his ear. 

An ofiScer went off to fetch Boxtel; and Van 
Systens, in the meantime, continued his examination. 

“ Upon what do you base your assertion that you 
are the real owner of the black tulip?" 

“ Upon a very simple fact, which is that I planted 
and raised it in my own chamber." 

“ In your chamber? Where was your chamber?" 

“ At Loewestein. " 

“You are from Loewestein?" 

“ I am the daughter of the jailer of the fortress." 

The Prince made a little movement, as much as to 
say, “ Ah ! that's it, I remember now." 

And all the while pretending to be absorbed in his 
book, he watched Rosa with even more attention than 

“And you are fond of flowers?" continued Myn- 
heer Van Systens. 

“Yes, Mynheer." 

“ Then you are an experienced florist?" 

Rosa hesitated a moment; then in a voice which 
spoke from the depth of her heart, she said, — 

“ Gentlemen, I am speaking to men of honour?" 

Her tone was so honest that Van Systens and the 
Prince answered simultaneously by an affirmative 
movement of their heads. 

“ Well, then, no ; it is not I who am an experienced 
florist. No I am only a poor girl of the people, — a 
poor Frisian peasant-girl, who three months ago 
knew neither how to read nor write; no, the black 
tulip was not discovered by myself." 

202 The Black Tulip 

“ By whom, pray, was it discovered ?*' 

‘‘ By a poor prisoner at Lcewestein. ’ ' 

“ By a poor prisoner at Loewesteln ?’* repeated the 

At the sound of his voice Rosa in her turn was 

‘‘ It must have been by a prisoner of State, then?’’ 
continued the Prince, “ for there are none but pris- 
oners of State at Loewestein.” 

Having said this, he began to read again, at least 
in appearance. 

“ Yes,” murmured Rosa, with a faltering voice, — 

yes, by a prisoner of State.” 

Van Systens trembled as he heard such a confes- 
sion made in the presence of such a witness. 

“ Continue,” said William, coldly, to the president 
of the Horticultural Society. 

Ah, Mynheer,” said Rosa, addressing the person 
whom she thought to be her real judge, “lam about 
to accuse myself of a very serious offence. ” 

“ Certainly,” said Van Systens, “ the prisoners of 
State ought to be kept in secret confinement at 

“ Alas I Mynheer.” 

“And from what you tell me it would seem that 
you took advantage of your position as daughter of 
the jailer to communicate with a prisoner of State 
about the cultivation of flowers.” 

“Yes, Mynheer,” Rosa murmured in dismay; 
“ yes, I am bound to confess I saw him every day.” 

“ Unfortunate girl !” exclaimed Van Systens. 

The Prince observing the fright of Rosa and the 
pallor of the president, raised his head, and said, in 
his clear and decided tone, — 

“ This does not concern the members of the Horti- 
cultural Society; they have to pass upon the matter 
of the black tulip, and have nothing to do with 
political offences. Go on, young woman, go on.” 

Van Systens, by an eloquent glance, offered in the 
name of all tulips his thanks to the new member of 
the Horticultural Society. 

Member of Horticultural Society 203 

Rosa, reassured by this gleam of encouragement 
which the stranger held out to her, related all that 
had happened for the last three months, — all that she 
had done and all that she had suffered- She described 
the cruelty of Gryphus, the destruction of the first 
bulb, the grief of the prisoner, the precautions taken 
to insure the success of the second bulb, the prisoner’s 
patience and his agony during their separation, — 
how he almost starved himself because he had no 
news of his tulip, — his joy when she went to see him 
again, and, lastly, their common despair when they 
found that the tulip, which had flowered so success- 
fully, was stolen just one hour after it had opened. 

All this was detailed with an accent of truth, which 
although producing no change in the impassive 
demeanour of the Prince, did not fail to make an 
impression on Van Systens. 

“ But,” said the Prince, ” you can only have 
known the prisoner a short time.” 

Rosa opened her great eyes and looked at the 
stranger, who drew back into the dark corner, as if 
he wished to escape her observation. 

” Why so. Mynheer?” she asked. 

“ Because it is not yet four months since the 
Jailer Gryphus and his daughter were removed to 
Loewestein. ” 

“ True, Mynheer.” 

“ And unless you solicited the transfer of your 
father, in order that you might follow some prisoner 
who was transferred from the Hague to Loewe- 
stein ” 

Mynheer !” said Rosa, blushing. 

“ Finish what you have to say,” said William. 

“ I confess that I knew the prisoner at the 

” Happy prisoner!” said William, smiling. 

At this moment the officer who had been sent for 
Boxtel returned, and announced to the Prince that the 
person whom he had been to seek was following at 
his heels with his tulip. 


The Black Tulip 



Boxtel’s coming was scarcely announced when 
that individual in person entered the parlour of 
Mynheer van Systens, followed by two men who 
carried in a box the precious burden, and deposited 
it on a table. 

The Prince on being informed left the cabinet, 
passed into the parlour, admired the flower, but said 
nothing, and silently resumed his seat in the dark 
corner, where he had himself placed his chair. 

Rosa, trembling, pale, and terrified, waited until 
she should be invited in her turn to see the tulip. 

She heard Boxtel’s voice. 

‘‘ It is he 1’^ she exclaimed. 

The Prince made her a sign to go and look through 
the open door into the parlour. 

‘‘ It is my tulip,’' cried Rosa; “ I recognize It. Oh, 
my poor Cornelius I” 

She burst into tears. 

The Prince rose from his seat, and went to the 
door, where he stood a moment in the light. 

As Rosa’s eyes rested upon him, she felt more 
than ever convinced that this was not the first time 
she had seen the stranger. 

‘‘ Master Boxtel,” said the Prince, “ come in here, 
if you please. ” 

Boxtel eagerly approached, and found himself face 
to face with William of Orange. 

His Highness !” he cried, recoiling a step. 

His Highness !” Rosa repeated, in dismay. 

Hearing this exclamation on his left, Boxtel 
turned round, and perceived Rosa. 

At sight of her the whole frame of the envious 
fellow shook as if he had touched a voltaic battery. 

“Ah,” muttered the Prince to himself, “he is 
confused I ’ * 

The Third Bulb 205 

But Boxtel, making a violent effort at self-control, 
had already mastered his emotion. 

‘‘Well, Mynheer Boxtel,'* said William, “you 
seem to have discovered the secret of the black 

“ Yes,^ your Highness," answered Boxtel, in a 
voice which still betrayed some confusion. 

To be sure his confusion might have been attribut- 
able to the emotion which the man must have felt 
on suddenly recognizing William. 

“But," continued the Prince, “here is a young 
woman who also pretends to have discovered it." 

Boxtel smiled, and shrugged his shoulders con- 

William watched all his movements with evident 
interest and curiosity. 

“ Then you don't know this young woman?" said 
the Prince. 

“ No, your Highness." 

“ And you, young woman, do you know Mynheer 

“ No, I don't know Mynheer Boxtel; but I know 
Mynheer Jacob." 

“ What do you mean?" 

“ I mean that at Loewestein the man who here 
calls himself Isaac Boxtel went by the name of 

“ What do you say to that. Mynheer Boxtel?'^ 

“ I say that this young woman lies, your High- 
ness. " 

“ Do you deny having ever been at Loewestein?" 

Boxtel hesltdlled ; the fixed and searching glance of 
the keen eye of the Prince stopped the lie on his lips. 

“ I cannot deny having been at Loewestein, your 
Highness; but I deny having stolen the tulip." 

“You did steal it, and from my room," cried 
Rosa, with indignation. 

“ I deny it." 

“Now listen to me : Do you deny having followed 
me into the garden on the day when I prepared the 
bed where I intended to plant it? Do you deny 
having followed me into the garden when I pre- 

2o6 The Black Tulip 

tended to plant it? Do you deny that on that even- 
ing, after I had gone, you rushed to the spot where 
you hoped to find the bulb? Do you deny having 
dug in the ground with your hands? — but, thank 
God, in vain, for it was only a stratagem to discover 
your intentions. Say, do you deny all this?’* 

Boxtel did not deem it best to reply to these several 
questions; but turning to the Prince, he said, — 

I have now for twenty years grown tulips at 
Dort ; I have even acquired some reputation in the art. 
One of my hybrids is entered in the catalogue under 
the name of an illustrious personage. I dedicated 
it to the King of Portugal. This is the truth of the 
matter : This girl knew that I had produced the 
black tulip, and in concert with a lover of hers in the 
fortress of Loewestein she formed the plan of min- 
ing me, by appropriating to herself the prize of a 
hundred thousand florins which I hope to win, 
thanks to your justice.” 

** Oh said Rosa, beside herself with anger. 

** Silence !” said the Prince. 

Then, turning to Boxtel, he said, — 

And who is that prisoner whom you allege to be 
the lover of this young woman?” 

Rosa nearly swooned ; for Cornelius had been 
recommended by the Prince to the special surveill- 
ance of the jailer as a dangerous criminal. 

Nothing could have been more agreeable to Boxtel 
than this question. 

“ Who is this prisoner, did you ask?” said he. 

This prisoner is a man whose name in itself will 
prove to your Highness what trust yoh may place in 
his good faith and honour. He is a State criminal 
who was once condemned to death.” 

” And his name?” 

Rosa hid her face in her hands with a despairing 

” His name is Cornelius van Baerle,” said Boxtel, 
” and he is godson of that villain Cornelius de 

The Prince started; his calm eye flashed, and a 
deathlike pallor spread over his impassive features. 

The Third Bulb 207 

He went up to Rosa, and with a motion of his 
finger ordered her to remove her hands from her 

Rosa obeyed, as if under mesmeric influence, with- 
out having seen the sign. 

It was then to follow this man that you came to 
me at Leyden to solicit the transfer of your father 

Rosa hung her head, and in a stifled and almost 
inaudible voice murmured, — 

“ Yes, your Highness.” 

** Go on,” said the Prince to Boxtel. 

I have nothing more to say,” Isaac continued. 
” Your Highness knows all. But there is one thing 
which I did not intend to say, because I did not wish 
to make this girl blush for her ing-adtuce. I came 
to Loewestein because I had business there. I made 
the acquaintance of old Gryphus, and falling in love 
with his daughter, made an offer of marriage to her ; 
and not being rich, I committed the imprudence of 
mentioning to them my hope of gaining a hundred 
thousand florins, and to justify my hope, I showed 
them the black tulip. Then, as her lover had made 
a pretence of growing tulips at Dort, to divert suspi- 
cion from his political intrigues, the two together 
plotted my ruin. 

“ On the eve of the day when the flower was 
expected to open, the tulip was carried off from my 
quarters by this young woman to her room, whence 
I had the good luck to recover it, at the very moment 
when she had the impudence to despatch a messenger 
to announce to the members of the Horticultural 
Society that she had produced the great black tulip. 
But she did not stop there. There is no doubt that 
during the few hours which she kept the flower in her 
room she showed it to some persons, whom she may 
now call as witnesses. But fortunately your High- 
ness has now been warned against this impostor and 
her witnesses. ” 

‘‘ Oh, my God, my God, what infamous false- 
hoods!” said Rosa, bursting into tears, and throw- 
ing herself at the feet of the Stadtholder, who. 

2 o 8 The Black Tulip 

althougfh believing her guilty, felt pity for her dread- 
ful agony. 

You have done very wrong, my child, he said, 

and your lover shall be punished for having 
advised you thus ; for you are so young, and have 
such an honest mien, that I am inclined to believe 
the mischief to have been his doing, and not 
yours. ’’ 

** Oh, your Highness, your Highness!’* cried 
Rosa, “ Cornelius is not guilty !” 

William stained. 

** Not guilty of having advised you; that’s what 
you mean, is it not?” 

** What I mean, your Highness, is that Cornelius 
is as little guilty of the second crime imputed to him 
as he was of the first.” 

” Of the first? And do you know what was his 
first crime? Do you know of what he was accused 
and convicted? — of having, as an accomplice of Cor- 
nelius de Witt, concealed the correspondence of the 
Grand Pensionary and the Marquis de Louvois.” 

Yes, but, Mynheer, he was ignorant that this 
correspondence had been left in his care, — completely 
ignorant. Otherwise, my God, he would have told 
me. Could that pure, noble heart conceal aught 
from me? No, no, your Highness, I repeat, even 
though I incur your displeasure, Cornelius is no more 
guilty of the first crime than of the second ; and of 
the second no more than of the first. Oh, would to 
Heaven that you knew my Cornelius, your High- 
ness !” 

” He is a De Witt!” cried Boxtel. His High- 
ness knows only too much of him, having once 
granted him his life.” 

“ Silence!” said the Prince; “all these affairs of 
State, as I have already said, are completely outside 
of the jurisdiction of the Horticultural Society of 

Then he added, with a slight frown, — 

“As to the tulip, make yourself easy^ Master 
Boxtel; you shall have justice done you.” 

The Third Bulb 209 

Boxtel bowed, with a heart full of joy, and received 
the congratulations of the president. 

‘‘ You, my child,’’ William of Orange continued, 
‘‘ you were very near commliting a crime. I shall 
not punish you; but the real culprit shall pay the 
penalty for both. A man of his name may be a con- 
spirator, and even a traitor ; but he ought not to be 
a thief.” 

“A thief!” cried Rosa. ‘'Cornelius a thief I 
Pray, your I'^ighpess, take care, for he would die 
were he to hear your words; such words would kill 
him more surely than the axe of the executioner would 
have done upon the Buytenhof. If theft there has 
been, I swear to you. Mynheer, no one but this man 
has committed it.” 

“ Prove it,” sneered Boxtel. 

“Oh, I will; with God’s help, I will prove it!” 
retorted the maiden, earnestly. 

Then, turning toward Boxtel, she asked, — 

“ The tulip is yours?” 

“ It is,” 

“ How many bulbs were there?” 

Boxtel hesitated for a moment, but he came to the 
conclusion that she would not ask this question 
if there had been no more than the two of which he 
already knew. He therefore answered, — 

“ Three.” 

“What has become of these bulbs?” demanded 

“ What has become of them? Well, one has 
failed; the second has produced the black tulip.” 

“ And the third?” 

“ The third!” 

“Yes, the third, where is it?” 

“The third is at my house,” said Boxtel, quite 

“ At your house? Where, — at Loewestein, or at 

“ At Dort,” said Boxtel. 

“ You lie !” cried Rosa. “ Your PTighness,” she 
continued, turning to the Prince, “ I will tcli >ou the 


210 The Black Tulip 

true story of those three bulbs. The first was crushed 
by my father in the prisoner’s cell, and this man is 
quite aware of it; for he himself wanted to get hold 
of it, and being balked in his hope, he very nearly fell 
out with my father, who had been the cause of his 
disappointment. The second bulb, under my care, 
has produced the black tulip; and the third and last ” 
— saying this she drew it from her bosom — ‘ ‘ here it 

is, in the very same paper in which it was wrapped 
up together with the two others, when, as he was 
about to ascend the scaffold, Cornelius van Baerle 
gave me all three. Take it, your Highness, take it.’’ 

And Rosa, unfolding the paper, offered the bulb to 
the Prince, who took it from her hands and examined 


“ But, your Highness, may not this young woman 
have stolen the bulb as she did the tulip?” stammered 
Boxtel, alarmed at the attention with which the 
Prince examined the bulb, and even more at the sud- 
den interest displayed by Rosa in some lines written 
on the paper which remained in her hands. 

Her eyes suddenly lighted up ; she read the 
mysterious paper again in breathless haste, and then, 
with an exclamation, held it out to the Prince. 

Oh, read, your Highness, in God’s name, read !” 
she cried. 

William handed the third bulb to Van Systens, took 
the paper, and read. 

No sooner had he looked at it than he staggered 
back ; his hand trembled, as if it would let the paper 
fall to the ground, and the expression of pain and 
compassion in his eyes was frightful to see. 

The leaf Rosa had handed him was that page of 
his Bible which Cornelius de Witt had sent to Dort 
by Craeke, the servant of his brother John, to request 
Van Baerle to burn the correspondence of the Grand 
Pensionary with the Marquis de Louvois. 

This request, as the reader may remember, was 
couched in the following terms : — 

My dear Godson, — ^Burn the parcel which I have intrusted 
to you. Burn it without looking at it, and without opening 

21 1 

The Third Bulb 

it, SO that its contents may for ever remain unknown to your 
self. Secrets of this description are death to those with whonr 
they are deposited. Burn it, and you will have saved the lives 
of John and Cornelius. 

Farewell, and love me. 

Cornelius de Witt. 

August 20, 1672. 

This slip of paper was proof at once of Var 
Baerle’s innocence and of his claim of ownership oi 
the tulip-bulbs. 

Rosa and the Stadtholder exchanged one glance. 

That of Rosa was meant to express, ‘‘ Now yoi 
can see who is right.’’ 

That of the Stadtholder signified, “ Say nothingj 
and wait.” 

The Prince wiped the perspiration from his fore- 
head, and slowly folded the paper, as he allowed his 
gaze to follow his into that bottomless 

hopeless abyss, which is called remorse and sham< 
for the past. 

Soon however, raising his head with an effort, ht 
said, in his usual voice, — 

Go, Mynheer Boxtel; justice shall be done, I pro* 
mise you.” 

Then, turning to the president, he added, — 

‘ ‘ Do you, my dear Mynheer van Systens, keep 
this young woman and the tulip here with you. 

All bowed, and the Prince left amid the deafening 
cheers of the crowd outside. 

Boxtel returned to his inn, rather anxious. He 
was much disturbed by that paper which William 
had received from the hand of Rosa, and had read, 
folded, and so carefully put away in his pocket. 

Rosa went up to the tulip, tenderly kissed its 
leaves, and in the fulness of her entire trust in God, 
she murmured, — 

My God, Thou knowest for what end my good 
Cornelius taught me to read !” 

Yes, God did know, for it is He who chastises and 
rewards mankind according to their deserts. 


The Black Tulip 



Whilst the events we have described in our last 
chapters were taking* place, the unfortunate Van 
Baerle, forgotten in his cell in the fortress of 
Loewestein, suffered at the hands of Gryphus all that 
a prisoner can suffer when his jailer has formed the 
determination of playing the part of hangman. 

Gryphus, not having received any tidings of Rosa 
or of Jacob, persuaded himself that all that had hap- 
pened was the devil’s work, and that the devil him- 
self was responsible for Dr. Cornelius van Baerle ’s 
presence on earth. 

The result was that one fine morning, the third 
day after the disappearance of Jacob and Rosa, he 
went up to Cornelius’s cell in even a greater rage 
than usual. 

The latter, leaning his elbows on the window-sill, 
and supporting his head with his hands, while his eyes 
wandered distractedly along the hazy horizon, where 
the windmills of Dort were lazily turning their sails, 
was seeking in the fresh, invigorating air for 
strength to restrain his tears and maintain his 
philosophical tranquillity. 

The pigeons were still there; but hope had van- 
ished, — the future seemed to hold nothing for him. 

Alas ! Rosa was being watched, and was no longer 
able to come. Could she not write? And if so, 
could she manage to send her letters to him ? 

No, no ! He had seen during the two preceding 
days too much fury and malignity in the eyes of old 
Gryphus to expect that his \Iqih5-T(x would relax 
even for one moment. And then had she not tor- 
tures to endure a thousand times worse than solitude 
and separation? Would not the blaspheming, 
drunken brute revenge himself after the fashion of 
the fathers in the old Greek plays? And when the 

The Song of the Flowers 213 

g-in had snarled up his wits, would it not endow his 
arm — which Cornelius had set only two well — with 
the strength of two ordinary arms and a club? 

The idea that Rosa might perhaps be ill-treated 
nearly drove Cornelius mad. 

He then felt his own helplessness, his powerless- 
ness, and nothingness. He asked himself whether 
God was just in inflicting so much tribulation on two 
innocent creatures. There is no doubt that during 
that sad time his belief wavered. Misfortune does 
not conduce to faith in sinful man. 

Van Baerle thought of writing to Rosa ; but where 
was she? 

He also had an idea writing to the Hague to 
forestall Gryphus, who he had no doubt would by 
denouncing, him do his best to bring fresh trouble 
upon him. 

But how should he write? Gryphus had taken the 
paper and pencil from him ; and even if he had both, 
he could hardly expect Gryphus to take charge of 
his letter. 

Then Cornelius considered in every light all the 
shallow artifices resorted to by unfortunate pris- 

He had thought of an attempt to escape, — a thing 
which never entered his head while he could see 
Rosa every day; but the more he thought of it the 
more clearly he saw the impracticability of such an 
attempt. His was one of those fastidious natures 
which abhor everything that is common, and often 
lose fine opportunities by shrinking from following 
in the beaten track, — the highway of people of 
moderate pretensions, and which may lead to any 

<< How would it be possible,’’ said Cornelius to 
himself, ** for me to escape from Loewestein, as 
Grotius did? Has not every precaution been taken 
since? Are not the windows barred? Are not the 
doors twice or three times as strong as they were 
then, and the sentinels ten times more watchful? 
And besides the barred windows and the double 

214 The Black Tulip 

doors and the vigilant sentinels, have I not a tireless 
watcher, — a veritable Argus, so much the more to be 
dreaded because his eyes are made keen by hatred, 
— old Gryphus himself? Finally, is there not one 
circumstance which takes away all my spirit, — I 
mean Rosa’s absence? But suppose I should waste 
ten years of my life in making a file to file off my 
bars or in braiding cords to let myself down from 
the window, or in sticking wings on my shoulders 
to fly, like Daedalus? But luck is against me now. 
The file would get dull, the rope would break, or my 
wings would melt in the sun; I should surely kill 
myself ; I should be picked up maimed and crippled ; 
I should be labelled, and put on exhibition in the 
museum at the Hague between the blood-stained 
doublet of William the Taciturn and the female 
walrus captured at Stavesen, and the only result of 
my enterprise will have been to procure me a place 
among the curiosities of Holland. 

‘‘But no; and it is much better so. Some fine 
day Gryphus will commit some atrocity. I am 
losing my patience since I lost all pleasure by losing 
the company of Rosa, and especially since I lost my 
tulip. Undoubtedly, some day or other Gryphus will 
attack me in a manner offensive to my self-respect or 
to my love, or even threaten my personal safety. 
Since I have been left entirely to myself I am con- 
scious of a strange feeling of physical power and of 
mental vigour, which make me cross beyond 
measure, they are so loud in their demand to be 
brought into action. I long to fight some one; my 
appetite for a row is insatiable; and I have an in- 
comprehensible thirst for giving and recoiling blows. 
I shall surely jump at the throat of my villainous old 
friend and strangle him.” 

Cornelius at his last words stopped for a moment, 
with clenched teeth and staring eye. 

He was eagerly revolving in his mind a thought 
which at last made him smile. 

“Well,” continued he, resuming his soliloquy, 
“ with Gryphus once strangled, why not take his 

The Song of the Flowers 215 

keys from him, why not' go down the stairs as if I 
had done the most virtuous action, why not seek 
Rosa in her room, why not tell her all, and jump 
with her from her window into the Waal? I can 
certainly swim well enough for two. Rosa — but, oh, 
heavens, Gryphus is her father ! Whatever may be 
her alfection for me, she will never approve of my 
having strangled her father, brutal and malicious as 
he has been. I shall have to enter into an argument 
with her ; and in the midst of my speech some 
wretched turnkey who has found Gryphus with the 
death-rattle in his throat, or perhaps actually dead, 
will come along and put his hand on my shoulder. 
Then I shall see the Buytenhof again, and the gleam 
of that infernal sword, — which will not stop half-way 
a second time, but will make acquaintance with the 
nape of my neck. It will not do, Cornelius, my fine 
fellow; it is a bad plan. But, then, what is to 
become of me, and how shall I find Rosa again?” 

Such were the cogitations of Cornelius three days 
after the sad scene of separation from Rosa, at 
the moment when we find him standing at the 

And at that very moment Gryphus entered. 

He held in his hand a huge club ; his eyes glistened 
with evil thoughts, an evil smile played upon his lips, 
his gait had an evil uncertainty, and evil intentions 
exhaled from his whole morose person. 

Cornelius, inured as we have seen to the necessity 
of patience, — a necessity which amounted to convic- 
tion, — ^heard him enter, and guessed that it was he, 
but did not turn round; he knew that this time no 
Rosa accompanied him. 

There is nothing more galling to angry people than 
the coolness of those on whom they wish to vent 
their spleen. 

The expense being once incurred, one does not like 
to lose it; one’s passion is roused, and one’s blood 
boiling. It seems a pure loss of energy if the boil- 
ing should not eventuate in a little stew. 

Every honest rascal who has sharpened his ill- 

2i 6 The Black Tulip 

humour to a keen edge longs to inflict a wound 
upon somebody with it. 

Gryphus therefore, on seeing that Cornelius did 
not stir, tried to attract his attention by a loud — 

^‘Umph, umph!’^ 

Cornelius was humming between his teeth the 

Song of the Flowers,’' — a sad but beautiful 

** We are the children of the hidden fire, 

Of the fire which courses throug-h the veins of the earth ; 

We are the children of the dawn and the dew ; 

We are the children of the air ; 

We are the children of the fountain ; 

But we are, above all, the children of heaven.” 

This song — the placid melancholy of which was 
made more impressive by its soft, sweet melody — 
exasperated Gryphus. 

He struck his club on the stone pavement of the 
cell, and called out, — 

Halloa, my musical friend! Don’t you hear 

Cornelius turned. 

“Good morning,” said he, and then began his 
song again, — 

“ Men defile us, and destroy us for very love; 

We are held to the earth by but a slender thread. 

This thread is our root, — that is to say, our life ; 

But we raise our arms to our full height toward heaven.’* 

“Ah, you accursed sorcerer! you are making 
game of me, I believe,” roared Gryphus. 

Cornelius continued, — 

“ For heaven is our fatherland, 

Our true fatherland, for thence comes our soulj 
And thither our soul returns, — 

Our soul ; that is to say, our perfume.*® 

Gryphus went close up to him, and said, — 

“ Don’t you see, pray, that I have taken measures 
to humble your damned pride and make you confess 
your crimes?” 

“Are you mad, my dear Master Gryphus?” 
asked Cornelius, turning to look at him. 

The Song of the Flowers 217 

^ As he spoke, he observed the forbidding expres- 
sion, the flashing eyes, and foaming mouth of the old 

'‘The devil!” he muttered; “he is more than 
mad, it seems; he is a raving lunatic.” 

Gryphus flourished his club above his head, with- 
out moving a muscle. 

“ Here, friend Gryphus,” said Van Baerle, with 
folded arms, “ you seem to threaten me.” 

“Yes, indeed, I do threaten you I” cried the 

“What do you propose to do?” 

“ First of ail, see what I have in my hand.” 

“ I think that’s a club,” said Cornelius, calmly, 
— “ in fact, a big club ; but I don’t imagine that that 
is what you threaten me with.” 

“ Oh you don’t, why not?” 

“ Because any jailer who strikes a prisoner is 
liable to two penalties ; the first laid down in Article 
9 of the regulations of Loewestein, — 

‘ Any jailer, inspector, or turnkey who lays hand upon a 
prisoner of State will be dismissed.’ ” 

“Yes, who lays hands,” said Gryphus, mad with 
rage ; ‘ ' but how about a club ? Aha ! the rules are 
dumb on the subject of clubs.” 

“And the second,” continued Cornelius, “which 
is not included in the regulations, but which is to 
be found in the holy Gospel, is this, ' Whosoever 
smites with the sword shall perish by the sword,’ — 
in other words, ‘ Whosoever smites with the club 
shall receive a good thrashing therewith.’ ” 

Gryphus, more and more enraged by the calm and 
sententious tone of Cornelius, brandished his 
cudgel ; but just as he raised it, Cornelius rushed at 
him, snatched it from his hands, and put it under his 
own arm. 

Gryphus fairly bellowed with rage. 

“There, there, my good man,” said Cornelius, 
“ don’t risk the loss of your place.” 

“ Ah, you sorcerer. I’ll make you pay dear for 
this,” roared Gryphus. 

21 8 The Black Tulip 

“ All right.” 

Don^t you see that my hands are empty 
Yes, I do, and not without a certain amount of 

“You know that it is not generally the case when 
I come up-stairs in the morning.” 

“ Ah, that’s true, for you generally bring me the 
worst soup and the most miserable rations one can 
imagine. But that’s not a punishment to me; I eat 
only bread, and the worse the bread is to your taste, 
Gryphus, the better it is to mine.” 

“ The better it is to yours?” 

<< Yes.” 

“How so?” , 

“ Oh, it is a very simple thing.” 

“ Tell me, then,” said Gryphus. 

“ \V'li*ngiy. I know that in giving me bad bread 
you think you annoy me. ’ ’ 

Certainly, I don’t give it you to please you, 
you brigand.” 

“ Well, then, I, who am a sorcerer, as you know, 
change your bad bread into excellent bread, which 
I relish more than the best cake; and then I have 
the double pleasure of eating something that gratifies 
my palate, and of doing something that puts you in 
a rage.” 

Gryphus answered with a growl. 

“ Oh, you cqnfess, then, that you are a sorcerer?” 

“ Faith, yes; if I am so. I don’t say it before all 
the world, because they might send me to the stake, 
like Gaufredy, or Urbain Grandier; but as we are 
alone, I see no objection to telling you.” 

“ Very good, very good,” retorted Gryphus; “ but 
even if a sorcerer can change black bread into white, 
will he be the less likely to die of hunger if he has 
no bread at all?” 

“ What’s that?” said Cornelius. 

“ So, I think I will not bring you any bread at all, 
and we will see how you are after eight days.” 

Cornelius grew pale. 

“And,” continued Gryphus, “we’ll begin this 

The Song of the Flowers 219 

very day. As you are such a clever sorcerer, why, 
you had better change the furniture of your room 
into bread; as to myself, I shall pocket the eighteen 
sous a day which are paid to me for your board.” 

But that^s murder,” cried Cornelius, carried 
away by the first impulse of very natural terror with 
which the bare thought of this horrible mode of 
death inspired him. 

“Well,” Gryphus went on in his jeering way, 

as you are a sorcerer, you will live notwithstand- 

Cornelius resumed his jovial demeanour, and with 
a shrug of the shoulders, he said, — 

“ Have you not seen me make the pigeons come 
hither from Dort?” 

“Well,” said Gryphus. ‘ 

“ Well, a pigeon makes a very dainty roast, and a 
man who eats one every day is not likely to starve, 
I fancy.” 

” What will you do for a fire?” said Gryphus. 

“ Fire ! why, you know that Pm in league with 
the devil. Do you think the devil will leave me with- 
out fire when fire is his natural element?” 

“ A man, however healthy his appetite may be, 
could not eat a pigeon every day. Men have made 
bets before now that they would do so, and have 
been obliged to abandon them.” 

“ Well, but when I am tired of pigeons, I have 
only to summon the fish from the Waal and the 

Gryphus opened his eyes to their widest extent 
in bewilderment. 

“ I am rather fond of fish,” continued Cornelius; 
“you never let me have any. Well, I will take 
advantage of your attempt to starve me, and regale 
myself with fish. ” 

Gryphus nearly fainted with anger and terror ; but 
he soon rallied, and said, putting his hand in his 
pocket, — 

“Well, if you force me to it,” — ^and with these 
words, he drew forth a clasp-knife and opened it. 

220 The Black Tulip 

“ Halloa, a knife said Cornelius, preparing to 
defend himself with his cudgel. 



The two stood for a moment, Gryphus on the 
offensive, and Van Baerle on the defensive. 

Then, as the situation might be pro' to an 

indefinite length, Cornelius, anxious to learn the 
cause of this extraordinary reinforcement of wrath 
on the part of his adversary, asked him, — 

In Heaven’s name,, what do you want?” 

“'I’ll tell you what I want,” answered Gryphus, 
‘T want you to give me back my daughter Rosa*” 

“ Your daughter?” cried Van Baerle. 

** Yes, Rosa, whom you have taken from me by 
your devilish magic. Now, will you tell me where 
she is?” 

And the attitude of Gryphus became more and 
more threatening. 

“ Rosa not at Loewestein?” cried Cornelius. 

” You know very well she is not. Once more, will 
you give Rosa back to me?” 

“Oh, yes,” said Cornelius, “this is a trap you 
are laying for me.” 

“ Now, for the last time, will you tell me where 
my daughter is?’' 

“ Guess, you villain, if you don’t know.” 

“ Only wait, only wait!’ growled Gryphus, white 
with rage, and with lips quivering with the excite- 
ment which began to turn his brain. “ Ah, you will 
not tell me any thing ? Well, I’ll : \ teeth!” 

He advanced a step towards Cornelius, and said, 
showing him the weapon which glistened in his 
hand, — 

“ Do you see this knife? Well, I have killed more 
than fifty black cocks with it; and I vow I’ll kill 

Van Baerle Settles Accounts 221 

their master the devil^, as well as them. Just wait^ 
just you wait r* 

Why, you blockhead,^* said Cornelius, “ do you 
really mean to kill me?” 

“ I will open your heart, to see the place within it 
where you hide my daughter.” 

With these words, Gryphus in his frenzy rushed 
upon Cornelius, who had barely time to retreat 
behind his table to avoid the fierce thrust. Gryphus 
continued, with horrid threats, to brandish his huge 
knife. Cornelius saw that although he was beyond 
the reach of his hand, he was not out of range of the 
weapon, which if thrown at him might bury itself in 
his chest. So he lost no time,^ but with the cudgel, 
which he had kept tight hold upon, dealt a vigorous 
blow on the wrist which held the knife. 

The knife fell to the ground, and Cornelius put his 
foot on it. 

Then, as Gryphus seemed bent upon engaging in 
a struggle, which the pain in his wrist and shame 
at having allowed himself to be twice disarmed would 
have made desperate, Cornelius took a decisive step. 
He belaboured his jailer, with most heroic self-pos- 
session selecting the precise spot for every blow of 
the terrible cudgel. 

Gryphus was not slow in begging for mercy; but 
before doing so he had roared long and loud, and his 
h^rowi.ig had been heard and had roused all the 
functionaries of the prison. Two turnkeys, an in- 
spector, and three or four guards made their appear- 
ance all at once, and found Cornelius still working 
the cudgel with his hand, with the knife under his 

At the sight of these witnesses of the crime he was 
engaged in, and whose mitigating circumstances,” 
as we say nowadays, were unknown to them, Cor- 
nelius felt that he was irretrievably lost. 

In fact, appearances were sadly against him. 

In a twinkling Cornelius was disarmed ; and 
Gryphus, surrounded and lifted from the floor, 
bellowing with rage and pain, was able to take 


The Black Tulip 

'account of the bruises, which were beginning to swell 
on his back and shoulders like the foot-hills of a 
mountain range. 

A prochs-verhal of the violence practised by the 
prisoner against his keeper was immediately drawn 
up; and as it was inspired by Gryphus, it was not 
open to the criticism of mildness, the prisoner being 
charged with nothing less than an attempt to murder, 
long premeditated, and put in practice upon the 
jailer with malice aforethought and in open re- 

While the charge was being drawn up against Cor- 
nelius, Gryphus, whose presence was no longer neces- 
sary after his deposition had been taken, was taken 
down by his turnkeys to his lodge, groaning, and 
covered with bruises. 

During this time, the guards who had seized Cor- 
nelius busied themselves charitably in informing their 
prisoner of the usages and customs of Loewestein, — 
which, however, he knew as well as they did, the 
regulations having been read to him at the moment 
of his entering the prison, and certain articles in them 
remaining fixed in his memory. 

They also told him how these regulations had been 
applied in the case of a prisoner name Mathias, who 
in 1688 — that is to say, five years before — had com- 
mitted a much less violent act of rebellion than that 
of which Cornelius was guilty. He had found his 
soup too hot, and had thrown it at the head of the 
chief turnkey, who in consequence of this ablution 
had been put to the inconvenience of having his skin 
come off as he wiped his face. 

Mathias within twelve hours was taken from his 
cell; then led to the jailer's lodge, where he was 
registered as leaving Loewestein; then taken to the 
Esplanade, from which there is a very fine view 
extending over eleven leagues. 

There they fettered his hands, bandaged his eyes, 
and recited three prayers. 

Hereupon he was invited to kneel ; and the guards 
of Loewestein, twelve in number^ at a sign from a 

Van Baerle Settles Accounts 223 

sergeant, each very cleverly lodged a musket-ball in 
his body. 

In consequence whereof Mathias immediately then 
and there did die. 

Cornelius listened with the greatest attention to 
this delightful recital, and then said, — 

** Ah, ah ! within twelve hours, you say?*’ 

“ Yes; the twelfth hour had not even struck, if I 
remember right,” said the guard who had told him 
the story. 

“ Thank you,” said Cornelius. 

The guard still had the smile on his face which 
served to accentuate his tale, when a loud step was 
heard in the hall and spurs jingled upon the worn- 
out stairs. 

The guards fell back to allow an officer to pass, 
who entered the cell of Cornelius while the clerk of 
Lcewestein was still making out his report. 

“ Is this No. II?*’ he asked. 

‘‘ Yes, Captain,” answered a subaltern. 

Then this is the cell of the prisoner Cornelius 
van Baerle?” 

** Exactly, Captain.” 

“ Where is the prisoner?” 

Here I am, Mynheer,” answered Cornelius, 
growing rather pale, notwithstanding all his courage. 

“You are Dr. Cornelius van Baerle?” asked he, 
this time addressing the prisoner himself. 

“Yes, Mynheer.” 

“ Then follow me.” 

“Oh, oh!” said Cornelius, whose heart felt 
oppressed as if by the first pang of the agony of 
death. What quick work they make here in the 
fortress of Lcewestein ! And the rascal talked to me 
of twelve hours !** 

“Ah, what did I tell you?” whispered the his- 
torically-minded guard into the ear of the patient 

“A lie.” 

“How so?” 

You promised me twelve hours. 

224 The Black Tulip 

Ah, yes ! but they have sent you an aide-de-camp 
of his Highness, even one of his most intimate com- 
panions, Mynheer van Deken. Zounds ! they did 
not pay such a compliment to poor Mathias.’^ 

“ Come, come,’’ said Cornelius, drawing a long 
breath. Come, I’ll show these people that an 
honest burgher, godson of Cornelius de Witt, can 
without flinching receive as many musket-balls as 
that Mathias.” 

And he passed proudly before the clerk, who, 
being interrupted in his work, ventured to say to 
the offlcer, — 

But, Captain van Deken, the proc^s-verbal is not 
yet finished.” 

‘‘It is hardly worth while to finish it,” rejoined 
the officer. 

“ Very well,” replied the clerk, philosophically, 
putting away his paper and pen in a greasy and well- 
worn writing-case. 

‘‘ It was written,” thought poor Cornelius, ” that 
I should not in this world give my name either to a 
child, a flower, or a book, — the three things of which 
God requires one at least, we are told, of every well- 
organized individual whom He deigns to allow to 
rejoice in the possession of a soul and in the full 
exercise of mental and bodily faculties.” 

He followed the officer with a resolute heart and 
head erect. 

Cornelius counted the steps which led to the 
Esplanade, regretting that he had not asked the 
guard how many there -were, for the man in his offi- 
cious complaisance would not have failed to tell him. 

What the long-suffering fellow principally dreaded 
during this short journey — which he looked upon as 
the immediate precursor of the end of his life’s 
journey — was that he should see Gryphus and not 
Rosa. What savage satisfaction would glisten in 
the eyes of the father, and what sorrow dim those 
of the daughter I 

How Gryphus would glory in his punishment ! 
Punishment? Rather, savage vengeance for an 

Van Baerle Settles Accounts 225 

eminently righteous deed, which Cornelius had the 
satisfaction of having performed as a bounden duty. 

But Rosa, poor girl I must he die without a glimpse 
of her, without an opportunity to give her one last 
kiss, or even to say one last word of farewell? 

And worst of all, must he die without any intelli- 
gence of the black tulip, and regain his consciousness 
in heaven with no idea in what direction he should 
look to find it ? 

In truth to restrain his tears at such a crisis the 
poor wretches heart must have been encased in more 
of the aes triplex — the triple brass — than Horace 
bestows upon the sailor who first visited the terrify- 
ing Acroceraunian shoals. 

In vain did Cornelius look to the right and to the 
left ; he saw no sign either of Rosa or Gryphus. 

On the whole, he was glad that it was so. 

When he reached the Esplanade, he looked 
courageously and unflinchingly about him for the 
guards who were to be his executioners, and saw a 
dozen or more soldiers standing talking together. 

But they were standing and talking, not drawn up 
in line, and without arms ; in fact they were whisper- 
ing and joking rather than conversing, — a line of 
conduct which seemed to Cornelius little consistent 
with the serious mien commonly assumed on such 

Suddenly Gryphus appeared at the doorway of his 
lodge, hobbling and tottering along, supported by a 
crutch. He had concentrated all the flame that his 
cat-like grey eyes could command in one last look 
of bitter hatred. He then began to pour forth such 
a torrent of foul abuse upon Cornelius that the 
latter, addressing the ojSicer, said, — 

“ Mynheer, I do not think it very becoming to 
allow me to be thus insulted by this man, especially 
at a moment like this. 

“But think,’’ said the officer, laughing; it is 
quite natural that this worthy fellow should bear you 
a grudge, for you seem to have given him a good 


226 The Black Tulip 

But only in self-defence, Mynheer/’ 

“ Pshaw!” said the captain, shrugging his shoul- 
ders like a true philosopher, “let him talk; what 
does it matter to you now?” 

The cold sweat stood on the brow of Cornelius 
at this answer, which he looked upon as rather brutal 
sarcasm, especially from an officer whom he under- 
stood to be attached to the person of the Prince. 

The unfortunate wretch then felt that he had no 
more hope and no more friends, and resigned him- 
self to his fate. 

“ God’s will be done,” he muttered, bowing his 
head. “ They did much worse to Christ, and inno- 
cent as I am, I cannot compare myself to him. Christ 
would have let his jailer beat him to his heart’s 
content, and would not have struck back. ’ ’ 

Then turning toward the officer, who seemed to 
have no objection to waiting until he had finished 
his meditations, he asked, — 

“ Well, Mynheer, where am I to go?” 

The officer pointed to a carriage drawn by four 
horses, — which reminded him very strongly of that 
which, under similar circumstances, had before 
attracted his attention at the Buytenhof. 

“ Enter this carriage,” said the officer. 

“Ah,” muttered Cornelius to himself, “it seems 
that I am not considered worthy of the honours of 
the Esplanade.” 

lie uttered these words loud enough for the his- 
torical guard, who seemed to have attached himself 
to his person, to overhear him. 

He doubtless thought it his duty to give Cornelius 
some new information; for approaching the door of 
the carriage while the officer, with one foot on the 
step, was giving his orders, he whispered to Van 
Baerle, — 

“ Condemned prisoners have sometimes been taken 
to their own town, and, to make their example more 
impressive and terrible, have undergone the penalty 
of the law before the door of their own house. It’s 
all according to circumstances.” 

Punishment awaiting Van Baerle 227 

Cornelius thanked him with a gesture. 

‘‘ Well, upon my word/’ he thought, here is a 
fellow who never loses an opportunity to say a word 
of comfort! Faith, my friend, I’m very much 
obliged to you. Farewell. ” 

The carriage drove away. 

Ah, you villain, you brigand !” roared Gryphus, 
clenching his fists at the victim, who was escaping 
from his clutches. *‘To think of his clearing out 
without having given me back my ck; :p»i't:'r !” 

‘‘If they take me to Dort, ” thought Cornelius, 
“ I shall see as I pass my house whether my poor 
beds have been all torn to pieces, ’ ’ 



The carriage rolled on during the whole day ; it left 
Dort on the left hand, passed through Rotterdam, 
and reached Delft. By five o’clock in the evening 
they had made at least twenty leagues. 

Cornelius addressed some questions to the officer, 
who was at the same time his guard and his com- 
panion; but cautious as were his inquiries, he had 
the disappointment of receiving no answer. 

Cornelius regretted that he had no longer by his 
side the obliging guard, who would talk without 
being begged to do so. 

He would undoubtedly have had as pleasant details 
and as exact explanations to offer him concerning the 
remarkable character of his third adventure as he 
had done concerning the probabilities of his fate at 
its two earlier stages. 

The travellers passed the night in the carriage. 
On the following morning at dawn Cornelius found 
himself beyond Leyden, having the North Sea on his 
left, and Harlem Lake on his right. 

228 The Black Tulip 

Three hours later he entered Harlem. 

Cornelius was not aware of what had taken place 
at Harlem, and we shall leave him in ignorance of it 
until the course of events enlightens him. 

But we cannot treat the reader in the same way ; for 
he has a right to know all about it, even before our 

We have seen that Rosa and the tulip, like two 
orphan sisters, had been left by Prince William of 
Orange at the house of the President van Systens. 

Rosa did not hear again from the Stadtholder until 
the evening of the day on which she had seen him 
face to face. 

Toward evening an officer called at Van Systens ’s 
house. He came from his ' with a request 
for Rosa to appear at the Town Mail. 

There, in the large council room in which she was 
ushered, she found the Prince writing. 

He was alone, with a large Frisian greyhound at 
his feet, who gazed earnestly at him, as if the faith- 
ful animal would have tried to accomplish what no 
man could do, — read his master’s mind. 

William continued his writing for a moment ; then 
raising his eyes, and seeing Rosa standing near the 
door, he said, without laying down his pen, — 

Come here, my child.” 

Rosa advanced a few steps toward the table. 

I have come, your Highness,” said she, stopping 
at a short distance from him. 

<< Very well,” returned the Prince; ‘‘be seated.” 

Rosa obeyed, for the Prince had his eye upon her ; 
but he had scarcely turned them again to his paper 
when she bashfully retired. 

The Prince finished his letter. 

During this time the greyhound had gone up to 
Rosa, made a careful survey of her, and begun to 
make friendly overtures. 

“ Ah,” said William to his dog, “it’s easy to see 
that she is a countrywoman of yours, and that you 
recognize her.” 

Then turning toward Rosa, and fixing on her his 

Pun’shiv.ent awaiting Van Baerle 229 

scrutinizing and at the same time impenetrable 
glance, he said, — 

“ Now, my child.” 

^ The Prince was scarcely twenty-three, and Rosa 
eighteen or twenty. He might, perhaps, better have 
said my sister.” 

“ My child,” he said, with that strangely com- 
manding tone which chilled all those who approached 
him, we are alone, and may speak freely.” 

Rosa began to tremble in every limb ; and yet there 
was nothing but kindness in the expression of the 
Prince’s face. 

“ Your Highness,” she stammered. 

‘‘You have a father at Loewestein?” 

“ Yes, your Highness.” 

” You do not love him?” 

“ I do not, — at least not as a daughter ought to 
do, your Plighness.” 

“ It is not right not to love one’s father, but it is 
right not to tell a falsehood to your Prince.” 

Rosa lowered her eyes. 

“ Why do you not love your father?” 

“ He is a wicked man.” 

“ In what way does he show his wickedness?” 

” He ill-treats the prisoners.” 

” All of them?” 


“ But do you not complain of his ill-treating some 
one in particular?” 

“ My father is particularly severe upon Mynheer 
van Baerle, who ” 

“ Who is your lover.” 

Rosa started back a step. 

“ Whom I love, your Highness,” she answered 

“ Since when?” asked the Prince. 

“ Since the day when I first saw him,” 

“ And when was that?” 

“ The day after that on which the Grand Pension^ 
ary John and his brother Cornelius met with such an 
awful death.” 

230 The Black Tulip 

The Prince compressed his lips and knit his browj 
and his eyelids drooped so as to hide his eyes for 
an instant. After a momentary silence, he resumed 
the conversation. 

‘‘ But what is the object of loving a man who is 
doomed to live and die in prison?” 

“ My object, your Highness, if he must live and 
die in prison, is to do my best to make his life 
pleasant, and prepare him to meet death with resigna- 

And would you accept the lot of being the wife 
of a prisoner?” 

“ As the wife of Mynheer van Baerle, I should, 
under any circumstances, be the proudest and hap- 
piest woman in the world; but ” 

“But what?” 

“ I dare not say, your Highness.” 

“ There is something like hope in your tone — what 
do you hope!” 

She raised her beautiful eyes to William face, — 
her clear, honest eyes, endowed with such keen 
penetration that they went straight to the bottom of 
his heart in search of the clemency which lay slumber- 
ing there, in a slumber which was almost death. 

“ Ah, I understand.” 

Rosa, with a smile, clasped her hands. 

“ You hope in me?” said the Prince. 

“ Yes, your Highness.” 

“ Hum !” 

The Prince sealed the letter which he had just 
written, and summoned one of his officers. 

“ Mynheer van Deken,” said he, carry this des- 
patch to Loewestein; you will read the orders which 
I give to the governor, and execute them as far as 
they concern you.” 

The officer bowed, and a few minutes afterwards 
the gallop of a horse was heard resounding in the 
vaulted archway. 

“ My child,” continued the Prince, ‘‘ the feast of 
the tulip will be on Sunday, and Sunday will be the 
day after to-morrow. Make yourself fine with these 

Harlem 231 

five hundred florins, for I intend that day to be a 

great holiday for you. 

How does your Highness wish me to be 
dressed faltered Rosa. 

‘‘Wear the costume of a Frisian bride, ” ^aid 
William, “ it will become you very well indeed.*’ 



Harlem, where we conducted the gentle reader 
with Rosa three days ago, and whither we now ask 
him to^ accompany us once more in the prisoner’s 
wake, is a charming town, which prides itself, and 
justly, upon being one of the most umbrageous in 
all Holland. 

While other towns base their self-esteem upon the 
of their arsenals or dock-yards, or the 
splendour of their shops and bazaars, Harlem rested 
all her claim to glory upon her manifest supremacy 
over all the other towns in the provinces in the 
matter of branching elms, stately poplars, and above 
all in the number and beauty of her shaded walks, 
over which ^ the oak, the linden, and the chestnut 
mingled their foliage in graceful arches. 

Harlem — as her neighbour Leyden, and Amster- 
dam, her queen, became, the former a town of scien- 
tific eminence, and the other a metropolis of com- 
merce, — Harlem chose to become an agricultural, or 
more strictly speaking, a horticultural town. 

In truth, being enclosed as she was, very airy, and 
exposed to the heat of the sun, she offered to 
gardeners such guarantees of success as no other 
place could do, with their sea-breezes, or their scorch- 
ing heat. 

Thus all the tranquil spirits who loved the soil and 
its products had gradually assembled at Harlem, just 
as all the restless, uneasy souls, who were inspired 

232 The Black Tulip 

with the taste for travel and love of business, had 
settled at Rotterdam or Amsterdam, and all the 
politicians and worldly self-seekers fiocked to the 

We have remarked that Leyden had been over- 
run by the scholars. 

Thus Harlem was given over to mild and peaceful 
pursuits, — to music and painting, orchards and 
boulevards, woods and parks. 

Harlem went mad over flowers, and tulips came in 
for their share of adoration. 

Harlem offered prizes in honour of tulips ; and this 
leads us as naturally as possible to speak of that 
festival which the town proposed to hold on the 15th 
of May, 1673, in honour of the great black tulip, 
spotless and perfect, which was to win one hundred 
thousand florins for its discoverer. 

Harlem, having exhibited its special pet, having 
made manifest its taste for flowers in general and 
tulips' in particular, at a time when war and sedition 
filled men’s minds; Harlem, having enjoyed^ the 
extraordinary pleasure of seeing the very beau ideal 
of tulips in bloom, — Harlem, the lovely little town, 
full of trees and of sunshine, of shade and light, had 
determined to make of the ceremony of conferring 
the prize a file which should live for ever in the 
memory of mankind. 

And there was so much the more reason in her 
determination, because Holland is the home of files ; 
never did sluggish natures manifest more eager 
energy of the singing and dancing sort than those of 
the good republicans of the Seven Provinces when 
amusement was the order of the day. 

Look at the pictures of the two Teniers. 

It is certain that sluggish folk are of all men the 
most earnest in tiring themselves, not when they are 
at work, but at play. 

Thus Harlem was given over to rejoicing thrice, 
for a threefold celebration was to take place : the 
black tulip had been produced; Prince William of 
Orange had promised to be present at the ceremony 

Harlem 233 

like the true Dutchman he was ; and thirdly, it was 
a point of honour with the States to show to the 
French at the conclusion of so disastrous a war as 
that of 1672 that the flooring of the Batavian Republic 
was solid enough for its people to dance upon, with 
the accompaniment of the cannon of their fleets. 

The Horticultural Society of Harlem had shown 
itself worthy of its fame by giving a hundred thou- 
sand florins for a tulip-bulb. The town, not to be 
outdone, voted a like sum, which was placed in the 
hands of its leading citizens to celebrate worthily the 
awarding of the prize. 

Thus there was on the Sunday fixed for this cere- 
mony such earnestness apparent among the people, 
and such enthusiasm among the townsfolk, that even 
a quizzical Frenchman, who laughs at everything at 
all times, could not have helped admiring the char- 
acter of those honest Hollanders, who were equally 
ready to spend their money for the construction of a 
man-of-war — that is to say, to maintain the national 
honour — as to offer a reward for the discovery of a 
new flower, destined to bloom for one day, and to 
serve during that day to divert the ladies, the 
scholars, and the curiosity-seekers. 

At the head of the municipal authorities and of the 
Horticultural Committee shone Mynheer van Systens, 
dressed in his richest clothes. 

The worthy man had done his best to resemble his 
favourite flower in the sombre and chaste elegance 
of his garments ; and we are bound to record, to his 
honour, that he had perfectly succeeded in his object. 

Jet black velvet and violet silk, with linen of 
dazzling whiteness, composed the festival costume of 
the president, who marched at the head of his com- 
mittee carrying an enormous nosegay, like that 
which, a hundred and twenty-one years later. Mon- 
sieur de Robespierre displayed at the festival of 
“The Supreme Being.'* 

But the worthy president, instead of the heart 
swollen with hatred and ambitious vindictiveness of 
the French Tribune, carried in his bosom a heart 

234 *rhe Black Tulip 

as innocent as the flowers which he held in his 

Behind the committee, who were bedecked with g*ay 
colours like a flowering meadow, and exhaled the 
sweet perfumes of the t-,:.- marched the 
learned societies of the town, the the 

military, the nobles, and the peasants. 

The people, even among the respected republicans 
of the Seven Provinces, had no place assigned to 
them in the procession. They formed a living hedge 
along the line of march. 

That is the best position of all to see and to learn. 

It is the place for the multitude, who philosophically 
wait until the triumphal pageants have passed that 
they may the better judge what they should say about 
them, and sometimes what they ought to do as well. 

This time, however, there was no question either 
of the triumph of Pompey or of Caesar ; nor were they 
celebrating the defeat of Mithridates, or the con- 
quest of Gaul. The procession was as placid as the 
passing of a flock of lambs on the earth, and as 
inoffensive as the flight of birds through the air. 

Plarlem had no triumphant conquerors except its 
gardeners. In its worship of flowers, Harlem idolized 
the florist. 

In the centre of this peaceful, sweet-smelling 
cortege the black tulip was seen, borne on a litter, 
which was covered with white velvet fringed with 

Four men carried the handles of the litter, and 
were from time to time relieved by other fresh relays, 
— just as the bearers of Mother Cybele used to take 
turn and turn about at Rome in the days of old, 
when she was brought from Etruria to the Eternal 
City, amid the blare of trumpets and the adoration 
of a whole nation. 

This public display of the tulip was an act of 
homage rendered by a whole nation, uncultured and 
unrefined, to the refinement and culture of its illustri- 
ous and devout leaders, whose blood it had shed 
upon the foul pavement of the Buytenhof, reserving 

Harlem 235 

the right at a future day to inscribe the names of 
its victims upon the fairest stone of the Dutch 

It was arranged that the Prince Stadtholder should 
himself award the prize of a hundred thousand 
florins, — a matter in which everybody was interested, 
— and that in connection with that duty he would 
perhaps make a speech, the latter consideration being 
of especial interest to his particular friends and his 
particular enemies. 

For in the most insignificant speeches of men of 
political prominence their friends and their opponents 
always try to detect, and hence think they can in- 
terpret, something of their real thoughts. 

As if your true politician's hat were not always a 
bushel under which he hides his light ! 

At last the great and long-expected day — May 15, 
T6p — had arrived; and all Harlem, reinforced by her 
neighbours, was congregated along the beautiful 
tree-lined streets, determined on this occasion not to 
waste its applause upon military heroes, or those 
who had won notable victories in scientific fields, but 
to reserve their approbation for those who had con- 
quered Nature, and had forced the inexhaustible 
mother to be delivered of what had theretofore been 
regarded as impossible of production, — a wholly 
black tulip. 

Nothing, however, is less to be relied upon than 
the determination of a crowd of people not to applaud 
this or that thing. When a whole town is in an 
applauding mood it is no more possible to tell where 
it will stop than when they are in the humour for 

They began by cheering Van Systens and his bou- 
quet; they cheered the corporations, and even vented 
some of their superfluous energy upon themselves; 
and lastly, and with good reason, they applauded the 
excellent music which was furnished in profusion at 
every halt. 

All eyes were looking eagerly for the heroine of 
the festival, — the black tulip, that is to say, — and for 

236 The Black Tulip 

its hero in the person of the individual who had grown 

If this hero should make his appearance after the 
speech we have seen worthy Van Systens at work on 
so conscientiously, he would be sure- to^ produce as 
much of a sensation as the Stadtholder himself. 

But for us the interest of the day’s proceedings is 
centred neither in the learned discourse of our friend 
Van Systens, however eloquent it might be; nor in 
the young aristocrats, clad in their Sunday clothes, 
and crunching their heavy cakes; nor in the poor 
young peasants, nibbling smoked eels as if they were 
slicks of vanilla candy : neither is our interest in the 
lovely Dutch girls, with ruddy cheeks and white 
bosoms; nor in the fat dumpy mynheers, who had 
never left their homes before; nor in the sallow, thin 
travellers from Ceylon or Java; nor in the thirsty 
crowds, who quenched their thirst with pickled 
cucumbers, — no, so far as we are concerned, the real 
interest of the situation, the engrossing, dramatic 
interest, is to be found in none of these. 

Our interest is in a beaming, to be 

espied amid the members of the ‘ ■ . . , ' ' Com- 

mittee ; in the individual with a flower in his belt, 
combed and brushed, and all clad in scarlet, — a 
colour which makes his black hair and yellow skin 
stand out in startling prominence. 

This beaming, triumphant personage, intoxicated 
with pride, the hero of the day, destined to the extra- 
ordinary honour of overshadowing the discourse of 
Van Systens and the Stadtholder ^s presence, is no 
other than Isaac Boxtel, who sees before his eyes, 
on the right hand, the black tulip, his pretended 
child, upon a velvet cushion; and at his left, in the 
huge purse, the one hundred thousand florins, in 
shining, tinkling gold, — and who has almost become 
cross-eyed in his determination not to lose sight of 
either for an instant. 

From time to time Boxtel quickened his step to 
rub elbows for a moment with Van Systens, He 
borrowed a little importance from everybody to make 

Harlem 237 

a sort of fictitious importance for himself, as he had 
stolen Rosa’s tulip to effect his own gflory, and make 
his fortune thereby. 

In another quarter of an hour the Prince will arrive, 
and the last stop for rest will be made. The tulip 
being placed upon its throne, the Prince, yielding 
precedence to this rival in the public adoration, will 
take a magnificently illuminated parchment, upon 
which the name of the grower is inscribed, and in a 
loud clear voice will proclaim that he has discovered a 
marvel; that Holland, by BoxtePs instrumentality, 
has forced Nature to produce a black flower, and that 
this flower will henceforth be called “ Tulipa Nigra 
Boxtellea. ” 

From time to time, however, Boxtel took his eyes 
a moment from the tulip and the purse, and scanned 
the crowd fearfully ; for of all things he most dreaded 
to see among the people was Rosa’s sweet face. 

We can understand that that would have been a 
spectre which would have spoiled the festivities for 
him as completely as Banquo’s ghost disturbed the 
repose of Macbeth. 

And yet let us hasten to say that this wretch, who 
had scaled a wall that was not his, who had entered 
his no:i>hbour’s house by a window, and who had 
violated Rosa’s chamber by a false key, — this villain 
who had filched a man’s glory and a maiden’s 
. by no means considered himself a 


He had watched the tulip so intently, had followed 
it so eagerly from Cornelius’s drawer in his drying- 
room to the scaffold on the Buytenhof, and thence 
to the fortress of Loewestein ; he had so zealously 
observed its birth and growth in Rosa’s window, and 
had so many times heated the air around it with his 
breath, that he felt as if no one were so much its 
discoverer as he, and that whoever now took the 
black tulip from him must steal it. 

But he did not see Rosa. Thus Boxtel’s delight 
was without alloy. The procession stopped in the 
centre of a circle formed by superb trees, which were 

238 The Black Tulip 

decorated with wreaths and inscriptions; it stopped 
amid joyous music; and the fair damsels of Harlem 
came forward to escort the tulip to the raised seat 
which it was to occupy on the platform by the side 
of the gilded chair of his Highness the Stadtholder. 

And the haughty tulip, elevated on its pedestal, 
soon overlooked the assembled crowd of people, who 
clapped their hands and woke the echoes of Harlem 
vith their tremendous cheers. 



At this solemn moment, and while the cheers were 
still at their loudest, a carriage was driving along the 
road which skirted the wood, making but slow pro- 
gress on account of the swarms of children who 
were crowded out from under the trees into the road 
by the selfish eagerness of the men and women. 

This carriage, covered with dust, and creaking on 
its axles, as if wearied by its long journey, contained 
the unfortunate Van Baerle, who was just beginning 
to get a glimpse through the open window of the 
scene which we have tried — with poor success, no 
doubt — to present to the eyes of the reader. 

The crowd and the noise and the display of artificial 
and natural magnificence were as dazzling to the 
prisoner as a ray of light coming suddenly into his 

Notwithstanding the little readiness which his com- 
panion had shown in answering his questions con- 
cerning his fate, he ventured once more to ask the 
meaning of all this bustle, which at first sight seemed 
to be utterly disconnected with his own affairs. 

“What is all this, pray. Mynheer Lieutenant?’^ 
he asked of his conductor. 

“ As you may see, sir,” replied the officer, “ it is a 

A Last Request 239 

** Ah, a fiteV* said Cornelius, in the sad tone of 
indifference of a man to whom earthly joy has long 
been a stranger. 

Then, after a moment’s silence, during which the 
carriage had proceeded a few yards, he asked once 
more, — 

“ Is it the fHe of the patron saint of Harlem? For 
I see quantities of flowers.” 

” It is, indeed, an occasion in which flowers play a 
principal part.” 

” Oh, what sweet odours! oh, what beautiful 
colours r* cried Cornelius. 

Stop, so that the gentleman may see,” said the 
officer, acting upon one of those compassionate im- 
pulses which are so often seen among military men, 
to the soldier who was acting as postilion. 

Oh, thank you. Mynheer, for your kindness,” 
replied Van Baerle, in a melancholy tone; ” but it iS|, 
a very painful pleasure to me to see others enjoying 
themselves thus ; so spare me, I pray. ’ ’ 

“ As you please. Drive on ! I ordered the driver 
to stop because you asked me the question, as well 
as because you are said to love flowers, and 
especially those to whom this day’s celebration is 

And what flowers are those?” 

“ The tulips.” 

” The tulips !” cried Van Baerle. Is to-day the 
feast of tulips?” 

“Yes, Mynheer; but as this spectacle is unpleas- 
ant to you, let us drive on.” 

The officer was about to give the order to proceed ; 
but Cornelius stopped him, a painful thought having 
struck him. 

” Mynheer,” he asked with a faltering voice, ** is 
it to-day that the prize is to be awarded?” 

“ The prize for the black tulip? Yes.” 

Cornelius’s cheek flushed, his whole frame 
trembled, and the perspiration stood on his brow. 

Alas !” he said, ” all these good people will be 
as unfortunate as myself; for they will not see the 

240 The Black Tulip 

solemnity which they have come to witness, — or at 
least they will see it incompletely.” 

‘‘ What do you mean?” 

‘‘I mean,” replied Cornelius, throwing himself 
back in the carriage, “ that the black tulip will not 
be discovered except by one whom I know.’’ 

In this case,” said the officer, ‘‘ the person whom 
you know has discovered it; for the thing at which 
the whole of Harlem is looking at this moment is 
the very flower which you consider undiscoverable. ” 

‘‘The black tulip!” cried Van Baerle, thrusting 
half his body out of the carriage- window. “ Where 
is it? where is it?” 

“ Down there, on the throne, — donT you see?” 

“ Yes ; I see it now.” 

” Well,” said the officer, ‘‘ we must be off now.” 

“ Oh, in pity’s name, in mercy’s name. Mynheer,’ 
said Van Baerle, “don’t take me away! Let me 
look once more ! Can it be that what I see down 
there is the black tulip, — quite black? Is it possible? 
Oh, Mynheer, have you seen it? It must have spots 
of colour; it must be imperfect; perhaps it is only 
dyed black. Oh, if I were only there I could soon 
tell ! Let me alight, let me see it closer, I beg of 
you I” 

“ Are you mad? How can I do it?” 

“ I implore you !” 

“ But you forget that you are a prisoner.” 

“It is true I am a prisoner ; but I am a man of 
honour ; and upon my honour I will make no attempt 
to escape. Only let me see the flower!’’ 

“ But my orders. Mynheer?” 

And again the officer made the driver a sign to 

Cornelius stopped him once more. 

“ Oh, be forbearing, be generous ! My whole life 
depends upon your pity, — my poor life, alas ! which 
has probably but a short time longer to run. Ah, 
you don’t know what I suffer; you don’t know the 
struggle going on in my heart and in my brain I For, 
after all,” Cornelius cried in despair, “ if this were 

A Last Request 241 

to prove to be my tulip ; if it were the one which was 
stolen from Rosa — Oh, Mynheer, just consider what 
it is to have discovered the black tulip, to have seen 
it for an instant only, — to have seen that it was per- 
fect, a consummate masterpiece of art and nature in 
collaboration, — and then to lose it, — ^to lose it for 
ever and ever ! Oh, I must alight, Mynheer ! I must 
see the flower ! You may kill me afterwards if you 
like, but I will see it, I must see it !” 

“ Be quiet, wretched man, and come back into 
the carriage at once, for the escort of his Highness 
the Stadtholder is just passing ; and if the Prince 
observed any disturbance or heard any noise, it 
would be all over with me as well as with you. ’ ^ 

Van Baerle, more afraid for his companion than 
for himself, threw himself back into the carriage; 
but he could only keep quiet for half a minute, and 
the first twenty horsemen had scarcely passed when 
he again leaned out of the carriage-window, ges- 
ticulating imploringly toward the Stadtholder as he 
rode by. 

William, impassive and retiring as usual, was on 
his way to the square to fulfil his duty as chairman. 
He held in his hand the roll of parchment, which on 
this festive day served him for a marshaPs biton. 

Seeing the man gesticulating and imploring, and 
perhaps also recognizing the officer who accompanied 
him, his Highness ordered his carriage to stop. 

In a twinkling his fiery horses, trembling on their 
powerful haunches, had come to a stand not six yards 
from the carriage in which Van Baerle was con- 

What is this?*^ the Prince asked the officer, who 
at the first order of the Stadtholder had jumped out 
of the carriage, and was respectfully approaching 

“ Monseigneur,” he cried, ‘‘ this is the prisoner 
of State whom I went to seek at Loewestein, and 
whom I have brought to Harlem as your Highness 

What does he want?” 

242 The Black Tulip 

'' He most earnestly entreats permission to stop 
here for a moment/’ 

‘‘To see the black tulip, your Highness,” said 
Van Baerle, clasping his hands “ and when I have 
seen it, when I know what I desire to know, I am 
quite ready to die, if die I must; but with my dying 
breath I will bless >our compassionate heart, which 
interposes between eternity and myself, and allows 
my achievement to attain a glorious reward.” 

It was indeed a curious spectacle to see these two 
men at the windows of their respective carriages, 
surrounded by their guards, — one all-powerful, the 
other a wretched prisoner; the one about to mount 
his throne, the other believing himself to be on his 
way to mount his scaffold. 

William looked coldly upon Cornelius as he listened 
to his vehement entreaty. 

Then addressing the officer, he said, — 

“ Is this person the mutinous prisoner who 
attempted to kill his jailer at Loewestein?” 

Cornelius heaved a sigh, and hung his head. His 
good-tempered, honest face turned pale and red at 
the same instant. These words of the omnipotent, 
omniscient prince, his superhuman infallibility, which 
through some secret source hidden from the rest of 
mankind had already been apprised of his crime, 
seemed to him not only to make his doom more cer- 
tain, but to presage a refusal of his last request. 

He did not try to struggle, or to defend himself ; 
and he presented to the Prince an affecting spectacle 
of ingenuous despair, — a spectacle which was fully 
understood and felt by the great mind and the great 
heart of him who observed it 

“Allow the prisoner to alight,” continued the 
Stadtholder, “ and let him see the black tulip; it is 
well worth being seen at least once- ’ ’ 

‘‘Thanks, your Highness, thank you,” said Cor- 
nelius, nearly overcome with joy, and hardly able 
to stand erect on the carriage-step ; ‘ * oh, your High- 
ness ” 

He could say no more; and without the friendly 

Conclusion 243 

arm of the ofiScer upon which he leaned, poor Cor- 
nelius would have thanked his Highness at full 
length in the dust. 

Having granted this permission, the Prince pro- 
ceeded on his way among the trees amid the most 
enthusiastic acclamations. 

He soon arrived at the platform prepared for him, 
and the thunder of cannon shook the air. 



Van Baerle, led by four guards, who pushed their 
way through the crowd, made his way from the side 
toward the black tulip, which his eyes devoured more 
and more eagerly, as he approached. 

He saw it at last, — that rare flower which was 
fated, under unknown conditions of heat and cold, 
light and shadow, to appear for a day, only to dis- 
appear thenceforth for ever ; that unique flower, which 
he was to see once, and no more. He saw it only 
six paces away, and was delighted with its perfec- 
tion and gracefulness ; he saw it surrounded by young 
and beautiful girls, who formed, as it were, a guard 
of honour for this queen of excellence and purity. 
And yet the more he ascertained with his own eyes 
the perfection of the flower, the more was his heart 
torn. He looked all around for some one to whom 
he might address only one question; but his eyes 
everywhere met strange faces, and the attention of 
all was directed toward the throne on which the 
Stadtholder had seated himself. 

William, upon whom everybody’s eyes were fixed, 
rose, cast a tranquil glance over the enthusiastic 
crowd, and his keen eye rested by turns on the three 
extremities of a triangle, formed opposite to him by 
three persons whose interests were very different each 
from the other, and in whose hearts very different 
emotions were struggling. 

244 Black Tulip 

At one of the angles, was Boxtel, trembling with 
impatience, and quite absorbed in watching the 
Prince, the florins, the black tulip, and the crowd. 

At another was Cornelius, panting for breath, 
dumb, and with no glance or breath or heart or love 
for aught save the black tulip, his own dear child. 

And at the third, standing on a raised step among 
the maidens of Harlem, was a beautiful Frisian girl, 
dressed in fine scarlet woollen embroidered with 
silver, and covered with a lace veil, which fell in 
rich folds from her head-dress of gold-brocade, — in 
a word, Rosa, who, almost fainting and with eyes 
s. I’.’ g with tears, was leaning on the arm of one 
Cl \\ ■■■’;: officers. 

The Prince, then seeing that all his audience were 
prepared, slowly unfolded the parchment, and in a 
calm, clear voice, which, although low, made itself 
perfectly heard amid the respectful silence which all 
at once fell upon the fifty thousand spectators, and 
stayed their very breath on their lips. 

You all know,’’ said he, for what purpose you 
have come together here to-day. 

A prize of one hundred thousand florins has been 
promised to him who should grow the black tulip. 

“The black tulip — and this marvel of Holland is 
now put before you, — the black tulip has been 
grown, and fulfils all the conditions required by 
the of the Horticultural Society of 

‘ ‘ The history of its production and the name of its 
grower will be inscribed in the book of honour of the 

^ ‘ Let the person approach to whom the black tulip 

As he uttered these words, the Prince, to judge 
of the effect they produced, surveyed with his eagle 
eye the three angles of the triangle. 

He saw Boxtel jump from his elevated post. 

He saw Cornelius make an involuntary movement. 

Lastly, he saw the officer in whose charge Rosa 
was lead or rather push her towards his throne. 

Conclusion 245 

A cry arose at once on the right and left of the 

Boxtel, thunderstruck, and Cornelius, in utter 
bewilderment, both exclaimed, — * 

‘‘ Rosa 1 Rosa ! ” 

“ This tulip is yours, is it not, my child?’’ said 
the Prince. 

“ Yes, your Highness,” stammered Rosa, whose 
touching beauty excited a general murmur of 

“ Oh,” muttered Cornelius, ‘‘ then she lied to me 
when she said this flower was stolen from her ! Oh, 
that is why she left Loewestein ! Oh, heaven 1 for- 
gotten, betrayed by her, — by her whom I believed to 
be my truest friend I” 

Oh,” sighed Boxtel, I am lost !” 

“This tulip,” continued the Prince, “will there- 
fore bear the name of its producer, and figure in the 
catalogue under the title, ^ Tulipa nigra Rosa Bar- 
Isensis,’ because of the name of Van Baerle, which 
will henceforth be the married name of this maiden.” 

As he spoke, William took Rosa’s hand and placed 
it in that of a young man who rushed forward, pale, 
giddy, and almost insane with joy, to the foot of the 
throne, saluting one after the other, his Prince, his 
betrothed, and his God, who from His throne in the 
blue vault of heaven looked down with a benignant 
smile on the spectacle of two happy hearts. 

At the same moment there fell at the feet of 
President van Systens another man, struck down by 
a very different emotion. 

Boxtel, crushed by the failure of his hopes, lay 
senseless on the ground. 

When they raised him, and felt his pulse and his 
heart, he was quite dead. 

This incident did not disturb the festivities, ^ as 
neither the Prince nor the president seemed to mind 
it much. 

Cornelius started back in dismay. In the thief , in the 
pretended Jacob, he recognized his neighbour Isaac 
Boxtel, whom in the innocence of his heart he had 
not for one instant suspected of such a base action. 

246 The Black Tulip 

Then, to the sound of trumpets, the procession 
resumed its march without any change in its order, 
except that Boxtel was now dead, and that Cornelius 
and Rosa were walking triumphantly side by side, 
and hand in hand. 

When they arrived at the town hall, the Prince, 
pointing to the purse with the hundred thousand 
florins, said to Cornelius, — 

“ It is difficult to say by whom this money has been 
won, by you or by Rosa; for although you dis- 
covered the black tulip, she nursed it, and brought 
it into flower. It would, therefore, be unjust to 
consider it as her dowry. 

** Besides, it is the gift of the town of Harlem to 
the tulip.’' 

Cornelius waited patiently for the Prince’s conclu- 
sion. The latter resumed, — 

“ I give Rosa the sum of a hundred thousand 
florins, which she has fairly earned, and which she 
can offer to you. They are the reward of her love, 
her courage, and her honesty. 

As to you, Mynheer, — ^thanks to Rosa again, 
who has furnished the proofs of your innocence — ” 
And, as he spoke, the Prince handed to Cornelius the 
famous fly-leaf of the Bible, on which was written the 
letter of Cornelius de Witt, and in which the third 
bulb had been wrapped — as to you, it has come to 
light that you were imprisoned for a crime which you 
did not commit. This means that you are not only 
free, but that your property will be restored to you, 
as the property of an innocent man cannot be con- 
fiscated. Cornelius van Baerle, you are the godsOn 
of Cornelius de Witt, and the friend of his brother 
John. Remain worthy of the name which one of 
them bestowed upon you at the baptismal font, and 
of the friendship with which the other honoured you. 
Cherish the memory of the signal virtues of both, — 
for the De Witts, wrongly judged, and wrongly 
punished in a moment of popular error, were two 
great citizens, of whom Holland is now proud.” 

The Prince, after these last words, which, con- 
trary to his custom, he pronounced with a voice full 

Conclusion 247 

of emotion, gave his hands to the lovers to kiss, while 

they knelt before him. 

Then, with a sigh, he said, — 

Alas ! you are very happy, who, dreaming, it 
may be, of the true glory of Holland and her true 
happiness, do not attempt to conquer aught for her 
except new colours for tulips.” 

And with a hasty glance toward France, as if he 
saw new clouds gathering there, he entered his car- 
riage and drove oif. 

Cornelius started on the same day for Dort with 
Rosa, who took care that her father should be in- 
formed of all that had taken place by the lips of old 
Zug, who was sent on a special embassy to the old 

Those who have fathomed Gryphus’s character 
from our description of it will understand that it was 
very hard for him to be reconciled to his son-in-law. 
He had upon his mind the blows he had received 
from the cudgel; he had counted them up by the 
marks that remained, — they numbered forty-one, he 
said; but at last, in order, as he declared, not to be 
less generous than his Highness the Stadtholder, he 
consented to make his peace. 

Appointed keeper of tulips, after having been 
keeper of men, he made the roughest keeper 
of flowers to be met in Flanders. 

It was indeed a sight to see him watching the 
obnoxious moths and butterflies, killing slugs, and 
driving away the hungry bees. 

As he had heard BoxteFs story, and was furious 
at having been the dupe of the pretended Jacob, he 
destroyed the observatory formerly built by the 
envious neighbour behind the sycamore ; for Boxtel's 
estate being sold at auction was merged with the 
other flower-beds belonging to Cornelius, who 
surrounded the whole with a wall to defy all the 
telescopes of Dort. 

Rosa, as she grew more beautiful, also increased 
her store of learning ; and after two years of married 

248 The Black Tulip 

life could read and write so well that she was 
able to undertake by herself the education of two 
beautiful children which she bore in May, 1674 and 
1675, like tulips, and which gave her much less 
trouble than the famous flower to which she owed 

As a matter of course, as one was a boy and the 
other a girl, the former received the name of Cor- 
nelius, while the other was called Rosa. 

Van Baerle remained faithfully attached to Rosa 
and to his tulips. The whole of his life was devoted 
to the happiness of his wife and the culture of flowers, 
in the latter of which occupations he was so success- 
ful that he introduced a great number of varieties, 
which may be found in ' 1 *- . : ■* i *■ ' of Holland. 

The two principal ornaments of his^ palour were 
the two leaves from Cornelius de Witt*s Bible in 
large gold frames. Upon one the reader will 
remember his godfather had written him to burn the 
Marquis de Louvois’s letters. 

Upon the other he had written his will, bequeath- 
ing the black-tulip bulb to Rosa on condition that 
with the hundred thousand florins as her dowry, she 
should marry some handsome young fellow of some 
twenty-six or twenty-eight years who loved her, and 
whom she loved. 

The condition was fulfilled to the letter, although 
Cornelius did not die, — and in fact just because he 
did not. 

Finally, to frighten away other envious people, 
whom Providence might not have leisure to rid him 
of as it had of Mynheer Isaac Boxtel, he wrote over 
his door the lines which Grotius had, on the day of 
his flight, cut on the wall of his prison, — 

Sometimes one^s sufferings have been so great 
that one need never say, ‘ I am too happy/